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Hidden photo poses a puzzle

October 15, 2019

Mystery photo

A hidden photograph has been revealed, leaving the owner and Knowledge Bank Hawke’s Bay looking for clues.

Knowledge Bank supporter Julia Rhodes was removing an old photo of her brother Philip Bridge from its frame for scanning when she discovered a second photo behind it - that of a young man wearing what looks to be a brand-new armed forces uniform.

Her brother’s photo was taken by local photographers Lovell Smith Photography and framed by Ellis and Dingle, but there is no photographer’s name on the photo of the young man. Philip is believed to be aged about three or four in the photo, which means it would have been taken in about 1950.

The thinking is that the photo of the young man was not claimed and so the framers used it as a backing board for the photo of Philip.

Mrs Rhodes, who was born in Hastings but now lives in Whitianga, believes the mystery photograph must have been taken in Hawke’s Bay to have landed up behind that of her brother. She hopes someone will see a very strong family resemblance, which could lead to finding out who the chap is.

Mrs Rhodes visits Knowledge Bank whenever she is in Hawke’s Bay, researching information on her families, the Johnsons and the Bridges. She has donated family films of events and day-to-day happenings in Hawke’s Bay that are being readied for publication on the Knowledge Bank website.

Hawke’s Bay Digital Trust Archives chairman Peter Dunkerley says the collection continues to

grow, preserving local history for the future. “When you see the footage from the 40s and 50s, it is really amazing how much our society has changed in less than 100 years. Imagine how our grandchildren are going to be thrilled to be able to see how their great-great grandparents lived.”

Mr Dunkerley urged residents to think of the Knowledge Bank when going through old records and photos. “Our reason for being is to make sure we preserve the stories and photos of the events, people, celebrations, tragedies and day-to-day life that helped form the culture and landscape of the Bay we know today.”

If you see a strong family resemblance in the mystery photo, email the information to


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