Thursday, June 07, 2012

Grandpa's Gladstone Bag

My Dad is 91, I'm 62 - not sure how long Grandpa lived. I call him Pa. I spend quite a bit of time with Nan and Pa. They lived in the caretaker's house in the parklands of Studley Park, Kew in Melbourne.
Pa worked on the Yarra Bend golf links from memory. My Grandparents had the biggest and best backyard ever. It had a river, the Yarra running through it. It covers an area of 260 hectares and was designated as a reserve in 1877. The parklands brings a feeling of country quietness only 4 kms from the Melbourne CBD.
In the late 1850s and 1860s Studley Park in Kew was a popular picnic spot for the people of Melbourne and a site depicted by numerous artists. Studley Park at sunrise is one of Nicholas Chevalier’s few paintings from the early 1860s that depicts a local scene. (

BUT, what has this to do with Granpa's Gladstone Bag do I hear you say?
Maybe you don't know what a Gladstone bag is - do you?

William Ewart Gladstone - UK Prime Minister
A many of many quotes
My research tells me that the Gladstone bag was designed and made by JG Beard and named after four times Prime Minister of UK, William Ewart Gladstone. It seems that Mr Beard was an admirer of Gladstone and so named his creation after the polititian.

Ok, Ok - I'm getting to Pa's Gladstone bag - don't be so impatient.

So, my Dad stayed with us after we arrived back from France on Saturday to Wednesday this week before returning to the Gold Coast in Queensland. He had some business to attend to and part of that was to collect Pa's Gladstone bag and pass it on to me.

He said his dad passed ir on to him and it was his job to pass it on to me. It seems that this might be a passing on the rights of being the head of the family in a male sense. Anyway I take this ritual of Gladstone bag handover with pride but I'm very sure that my father has done this many years ahead of time.

The three generation Gladstone Bag

When I did get home with the Gladstone bag and opened it, I half expected that I might find Pa's smokes and a bottle Melboune Bitter in there, but no! It was empty but the tarten lining was still in great condition as was the outer leather casing, a little worn but well loved as it will be in my safe keeping for my eldest son one day.
Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won't have to hunt for happiness. William E. Gladstone


  1. You are so privilidged to have had this opportunity. Thanks for sharing the moment!

  2. What a great item to hand down and a reminder of the family. It looks in excellent condition.

    We missed you on Wednesday but you were there in spirit.

    Take care D & N

  3. It should make a great carry on for our next trip.
    We missed us on Wednesday too.

  4. Dear Leon,

    It's a beautiful Gladstone. I love these bags. They're so iconic and handy to have around.

    I bought one for $25.00 at an antiques shop in Camberwell.

    1. Thank you for your comment - please visit again


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