This tattered registered Bolivian cover revealed a remarkable history of a Jewish man, born in Germany, interned in England, transported to Australia on His Majesty’s Transport ‘Dunera’, who first became an alien internee in Hay, N.S.W., then an Australian army employee in World War 2, followed by a non-combatant Australian Army private. He became one of four famous immigrant German photographers who shipped to Australia during WW2. Heinz Tichauer became known as Henry Talbot probably at the time of his Australian naturalization probably in 1945, and he specialized in fashion photography, portraits and advertising. I was so intrigued by this man’s story that I contacted an unknown woman living in the U.S.A., by email and within 24 hours I received an email from Henry’s son, Neale Talbot, who lives in Hong Kong. Imagine my surprise!
The cover was sent by Heinz’s father, Max Tichauer of ‘La Exquisita’ in Cochabamba, Bolivia and it had a pencilled ‘Certificado’ (Certified) as well as the 3 Bolivian stamps, a single blue 20 Bolivianos and a pair of brown 240 Bolivianos stamps postmarked ‘SERVICIO AEREO’. There was a printed ‘Correo Aereo’ and the address in black ink was: service No V377568/ Heinz Tichauer/ 8th Aust. Emp. Co./ Home Forces Camp Pel( ), Australia and a new address was added in red ink ‘EAST ALBURY NSW (Figure 1).
The reverse had 10 postmarks most of which had illegible dates not allowing adequate proof of the routing in Australia, whereas the 3 purple double ringed pre-Australia cancels were perfect, from left-to-right HONOLULU, HAWAII/ AUG/ 29/ 1945/ REGISTERED, and SAN FRANCISCO/AUG/28/ 1945/ CALIF., as well as a second same-dated copy of the first purple postmark. The black single ring Australian postmarks from left-to-right were: ( )AUST BASE P. O./ 2100 HRS-6SE 45; a largely illegible No 3 AUST BASE ( ); No 2 AUST BASE P.O./ 7 SE 45/ 6, REGISTERED-3/ 130 P 7SE 45, at top REGISTERED BRISBANE/ (P )/ QUEENSLAND; and below; REGISTERED 1/12 35 P 5 SE 45 1 MELBOURNE (Figures 2, 2A & 2B).
Wikipedia supplied the following information on Henry Talbot, Photographer. Henry Talbot was born Heinz Tichauer on 6 January 1920 in Germany and he died in 1999. He was a German-Australian fashion photographer noted for his long association with the Australian fashion industry, particularly the Australian Wool Board. He was born to Jewish parents, he studied graphic arts at the Reimann School in Berlin. He traveled first to London, England, under pressure from rising tensions of war. In England he worked as a window-dresser at a department store. After ‘Kristalnacht’, Henry’s father Max was detained in Germany, but having won the Iron Cross in WWI, Max was released, and subsequently he and his wife, Else Breibart, fled to Bolivia.
In England, Henry was interned as a German National and later shipped to Australia on the ‘Dunera’. During his internment in Hay, N.S.W., Henry practiced his artwork and studied in the camp ‘university’ established by the internees. Upon release in 1942, Henry joined the Australian Army, in which he served until 1946, loading an unloading goods trains at the N.S.W. – Queensland border. His Service Record is shown in Figure 3.
He established a close personal friendship with fellow German refugee, Helmut Newton. After the War Henry refreshed his studies of graphic design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Henry then visited his parents in Cochabamba, Bolivia, practicing art and reviving his pre-war interest in photography, winning a local photography prize.
Returning to Australia in 1950 he worked as a photographer, setting up a studio in 1956 with Helmut Newton. The studio specialized in fashion and advertising. During this time Helmut declared to Henry he was going to Europe and he asked Henry to look after the studio in his absence and Henry took over the business. During this period Henry did work for the Australian Wool Board, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and General Motors. Henry became Head of the Photography Department at the School of Art and Design at Preston, later the Phillip Institute of Technology, Melbourne (1973-1985). In 1974, Henry married Lynette Mortimer, an artist and mathematician and they had 2 sons Neale, my email correspondent, and John Paul.
Henry moved to Sydney with his wife and his 2 sons in 1985. Henry died in 1999 from cancer, shortly after revisiting the places of his youth in Europe. Shortly after his death, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography instituted the Henry Talbot Award for Services to the Photographic Industry. A photo of Henry Talbot courtesy of Neale Talbot, is seen in Figure 4.
There are several other points of interest not covered in Wikipedia about Talbot’s father, Max Tichaur, for when he was living in Germany his occupation was described as a confectioner, he owned a confectionery on Bahnhoffstrasse, Hindenburg, and this may have been a clue as to what type of business he might have had in Bolivia. I am referring to the ‘La Exquisita’, Cochabamba, Bolivia seen on the front of the cover. At present, I have not found a confectionery (nor a restaurant) by that name in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Max Tichaur had only one child, his son, Heinz, who became Henry Talbot.
Tichaur is not a common surname, but I was surprised that there were 3 men of that name who came to Australia, presumably under the same circumstances by the ‘Dunera’, for another two were found in the Australian Army Service records. At present I have found no evidence of a relationship of either of the two men, Erich Tichauer or Salo Max Tichauer to Heinz Tichauer. However all 3 men were involved in the same unit, namely the 8 Australian Employment Company, and their service records should be compared with the service record of Heinz Tichaur, as shown in Figures 5 & 6.
I have not found similar naturalization information for Heinz Tichauer and I wonder if this would have been when he changed his name to Henry Talbot, at the time of naturalization, say in 1945.
The most contentious issue concerning this cover has not been explored although it was touched upon earlier in this paper taken from the Wikipedia paper: “Upon release in 1942 (from interment at Hay, N.S.W.), Henry joined the Australian Army, in which he served until 1946, loading and unloading goods trains at the New South Wales/Queensland border” (which would have been when he was a member of the 8th Employment Company as a Private in the Australian Army) and this is supported by the email information I received from Neale Talbot, Henry’s son, in answer to my question about where Henry had worked:”I don’t have precise details on where my father was located, but it needed to be somewhere near the Qld/NSW borders, at the rail line. I’m not sure if the rail line ran through Tweed Heads at the time.” This premise did not sound correct for the cover from Max was redirected to East Albury on the Victoria/ N.S.W. border, where a post and telephone office had opened at Albury East in December 1937. There was a transit post mark of Melbourne, Victoria, but there was also a confounding transit postmark of Brisbane, Queensland.
June Factor in ‘Forgotten Soldiers. Aliens in the Australian Army’s Employment Companies during World War II’ (www.yosselbirstein.org/pdf/eng/other/Forgotten_Soldiers.pdf) Tocumwal and Albury on the N.S.W./Victorian border. They worked on the trains loading and unloading military supplies, including foodstuffs and armaments”.
“Of the 39 Companies, 11 were in part or in whole made up of aliens, i.e. non British citizens. In brief, the 4th, 6th & 8th Companies were based in Victoria but often worked across the Victoria/New South border. The alien companies were not armed, they were soldiers without guns, they camped at places like stated that “during the Second World War, the Australian Army established 39 Employment Companies, totalling by war’s end about 15,000 men. They were established to ensure that the Australian Defence Force had a large corpus of soldiers dedicated to essential labouring tasks, the large physical labour needed to maintain the war effort and support the fighting forces”.
I have some further documentation on these two men in The Argus (Melbourne) on 15 March 1945 and 19 May 1945, respectively for Private Salo Max Tichauer and Private Erich Tichauer, stating that they were applying for naturalisation under the Nationality Act of 1920-1936, after being more than 4 years in Australia (Figures 6 & 7).