Friday, July 5, 2013

It's A Small World...'meeting' Helmut Gritscher.

and just when you thought this was turning into a cooking blog!

Helmut Gritscher is one of the photographers whose work appeared in my 1968, much loved, tip-shopped, copy of Life in Australia (see here, here, here and here - and that's just for starters! There's more - hit the search button if you're interested...)

Windsor Castle Hotel

Sadly, I haven't really had the pleasure of meeting him, but about a month ago I received this email:

My name is Romedia and I live in Austria. I found a Photo in your Blog of Helmut Gritscher - Surf girl. Do you know the Photographer? - He is my neighbour... His family lives in Australia... I think he is looking for it!
Hope for an answer,
Romedia Fischler

I replied to Romedia straight away.
(I was just a little bit excited! You get that, right?)

I thought it was so cool (and a little bit crazy!), that a smelly old book I'd picked up at the tip for peanuts, elicited a response from someone on the other-side-of-the world, with a very real connection to a man whose (wonderful) photos of life in Australia appeared among its pages.
There are photos of:

"battlers, hippies in duffle coats and Beatle mops, fat pudgy Mums with moustaches and shopping bags, wharfies and waiters, God botherers, nymphos, dragsters, not-so-handsome stockbrokers, plus a fair sprinkling of Aborigines"

to quote the intro written by Craig McGregor. These are just some of his descriptions btw, a few of my favourites, but it was hard to choose - they're all fabulous (and very funny!)

Youth full Activites 1

In my email to Romedia, I offered to send my copy of Life in Australia to Mr Gritscher - it is his more than mine after all, don't you reckon?*

Our conversation continued:

I think he would be lucky if he could get a copy. Please send it to me. I think he has no computer... He is now about 80 years old and he was ill, now he could not speak any more but he is still okay and he he takes a few photos... He is a great person. My father nows him well. We live in that house already for 2 years. My grandma lives here. Now I see him every 2 days when he is going for a walk. I also love taking photos. I think he was a great photographer in Australia, right? His family - his wife and son I think went home to Austraila a long time ago and he is very sad because he didn't see them any more. Now he is 80 years old. Is there something in the book about his family? Perhaps you could`t help me to find his family?


It has taken me far too long to write this post. I meant to get it up and out there much sooner than this - that's just how it goes sometimes...but please, if there is anybody out there who knows anything about Mr Gritscher's family here in Australia, drop me a note (there's a link to my email address up there on the right hand side), if you are happy for me to pass on your details to Romedia I will.  

I know it's a long shot, but you "never know your luck in the big city" - after all, I never, ever expected to hear from Romedia in the first place!

(photographs of milk bars and delis like this one, are all the rage at the moment, according to Anth)

Of course, I have no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Mr Gritscher's separation from his family. It's none of my business either. However as you read above, he is a very old man and it would be pretty special if he could be reunited with them. I'll leave it with you and the rest of the blogosphere. Feel free to copy and share bits of this post if you're so inclined (I'm being a bit hopeful here, I know).

All the best to you and your family, Kylie x

* After a visit to Australia Post I will be unable to send the whole book to Austria. Even by sea it was going to cost a bomb (and I'm not entirely confident sending things by sea - too many parcels to far flung places have gone AWOL in my experience) Instead I am going to have Mr Gritscher's photographs copied professionally, and post those instead. I felt I needed to mention this in the spirit of honesty. 

Youth full Activities 2
All photographs Helmut Gritscher.
Life in Australia edited by Craig McGregor and David Beal, 1968.



  1. Wow what an amazing story. Fingers crossed this post gets there for your dear. Keep us posted!! Xo

  2. I hope Mr Gritscher is reunited with not only his snaps but also his family.

  3. What an amazing story Kylie! You and Mr Gritscher somehow connected across the world. You are very generous to have undertaken to do this for him, what incredible kindness. I hope something comes of your search for his family. xxxx

  4. Wow Kylie. I realy hope you are successful for Mr. Gritscher. His pics are beautiful. Maybe you could try to search or link about facebook?!

  5. That's such a cool story. I'm sentimental enough to hope that there's a reunion follow-up. Blogworld is such a fascinating place. Since most of my posts are about specific designers, I have received emails and phone calls from sons, daughters, grandchildren and even a widow of some of the men and women I've written about. It does leave you with a very strange feeling to be contacted out of the blue by someone who knows or has known a person you greatly admire. Only in the world of bloggers...

  6. What a lovely story to read Kylie!
    It is like 6 Degrees of Separation.
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if Mr Gritscher is reunited with his family, amazing how connected the world is, kinda comforting really!

  7. Wow! that's truly amazing! I hope you receive a lovely letter from Mr G, and that this is not the end of the story and his family can be found. Fingers crossed. T x

  8. What an amazing story. It's funny how one little blog post and a few pictures can lead to a request like this.

  9. wow - to think that an old book could lead to such an interesting story!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  10. Lovely little story, how cool would it be to end happily?

  11. I have read a few good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you set to make this kind of wonderful informative web site. From Canberra deck

  12. Very interesting. The blogging world can be so surprising sometimes. I hope someone sees the post and gets in touch. In the spirit of surprises, someone from Denmark wrote a comment on my posts about the Liljestrand House in Hawaii who was married on the property. I sent the comment back to the son of the original owner of the house who said he remembered this couple well and that him and his father had traveled to Denmark to meet with them. The internet makes the world a very small place, huh? Here is the post if you are curious about the comment at the bottom.

  13. What an amazing story Kylie. I so hope Mr Gritscher can be reunited with his family and if not then at least how amazing for him to rediscover his long lost photos. mel x

  14. What an amazing story. I hope you can help to reunite Mr Gritscher with some members of his family. Great photos too. Just shows, doesn't it, what a small little world it is... xxxx