LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 82
Pags.: 24 - 32
Production: Gabriela Pomponio
It isn't necessary to accumulate centuries of history in order
to provide a proper background for a place. Patagonia's history covers
a little over one hundred years, but they count as if they were many
more. Every family history sums up pioneer and immigrant development,
facing the rigor of the climate in total isolation and having to deal
with the local Indians. These are legends, anecdotes and sagas that
are also told in black and white, photo by photo.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER PRIEST
Italian, Alberto De Agostini, became famous for his triple work as
a Salesian priest, an explorer and a diarist. He arrived in Patagonia
in 1910 and, until he died in 1960, undertook various expeditions
from which he published more than 20 books, photographic guides and
films that were well-known in the 30's and 40's. Nowadays all of them
are much sought after as collectors' items.
first group reached the coast of Puerto Madryn in 1865 aboard the
Mimosa after an exhausting 72 day voyage. They settled in the Chubut
valley and founded the cities of Tre Rawson, Trelew and Gaiman. They
learnt to get on with the Indians and traded by barter. Most of them
were miners, blacksmiths, carpenters and tailors, and although they
knew little about agriculture, they managed to plant the soil and
summer, the beaches of Madryn filled with bathers. The women could
not escape from the strict etiquette and reached the sea in a wooden
cart, dressed in suits that covered them up to their necks. 1920.
LAND-OWNER WITH DASH
Some women never lost the opportunity of showing off the most elegant
dresses in the midst of the solitude of Patagonia. Ada MacDonald was
one of them, and stood out among her seven sisters who called her
Miss Elegance. Estancia La Begonia, Cañadon Farrays, Chubut,1927-1928.
AT FULL STEAM
Welsh pioneers beside a steam-train. Trelew, 1910.
year, the settlers left the isolation of their ranches and went down
to the city in their best finery, especially the women. Although the
pretext was an animal show, the event was a purely social reunion,
particularly for the English, Scots and Spaniards.
San Julian, Rio Gallegos and Comodoro Rivadavia held similar events.
Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz, 1918-1919.
THE STORK? A BIRTH
Sometimes things got difficult, like the day when Robert Ryan couldn't
start his Ford T and got on his tractor to clear the snow that had
collected in front of his house: his son Roberto was about to be born
and he had to go and pick up the doctor urgently. Colonia Las Heras,
Santa Cruz, July, 1928.
well-to-do family of German origin in front of their house. The convertible
was also a status symbol, together with the furniture and the crystal
that they brought from Europe. Colonia Las Heras, Santa Cruz, 1924
CARGO SHIP TO THE SOUTH
ships ran along the Patagonian coast with merchandise and passengers.
Jose Menendez had two, the Menendez and the Asturiano, to supply his
chain of stores La Anonima. Argensur and Lahussen did the same but
with rented ships. All of them returned to Buenos Aires with their
holds full of wool Puerto Madryn, in the 20's.
This was the favorite of middle class families for its sturdiness
and reliability. The cars arrived in Buenos Aires by sea from the
USA and from there on to Puerto Deseado. In the photo, lined up, just
unloaded from the ship. 1918 -1920.
SOUTH AMERICAN BOERS
and laborers in the Chubut valley, to the north-east of Comodoro Rivadavia.
Several families, descendants of Dutch people settled in South Africa,
arrived after being defeated by England in 1899. Nearly all of them
were small farmers and they devoted themselves to sheep, although
they never lost the habit of the kitchen garden, an activity that
was remarked on by the locals. Pampa Salamanca, in the 20's.
the time of its discovery at the beginning of the 20th century, Comodoro
Rivadavia became a small but hectic oil-town. Not only because of
the industrial activity itself, but also because, at that time, fires
in the towers were very frequent. The 20's.
Dekker, his friends and family, celebrate the first day of the year
in an oil-field belonging to Standard Oil. Activity in the well was
run in shifts of six workers and it was impossible to suspend the
work. Diadema, Chubut, 1926.
A DAY OF HUNTING
guanacos with shotguns was a common sport for Pablo Eisenach and other
local residents. The hunt had no other purpose: where the animal fell,
there it lay, carrion for the birds. The Indians, however, coming
down from the Andes, did take advantage of their hunting, which was
aimed at the younger animals, the chulengos: they ate the meat and
sold the skins to the traders from Buenos Aires. Pampa Salamanca,
Many land-owners modified the classic Ford T to use it as a "truck",
to transport firewood, bales of wool, forage… Here, the famous Black
Maria of Estancia Las Heras. Santa Cruz, 1941.
French mountaineers who first reached the summit of Mount Fitz Roy
in February 1952, posing together with the Halvorsen family, who lodged
them during their adventure. Estancia Rio Tunel, Santa Cruz.
and Isidro Rojo, carters of Spanish origin and Moorish blood, settled
in Lake Viedma in 1908. Estancia San Jose, Santa Cruz, 1917.
Source: Entre el rio de las vueltas y los hielos continentales [Between
the twisting river and the continental ice], by Patricia Halvorsen.
The ranches in Patagonia grew up on sheep-breeding. The shearing season
brought days of exhausting and diligent labor. Estancia San Jose,
Santa Cruz, in the 40's. Archives of Estancia La Quinta.
and Sara were the first settlers in Lago del Desierto. In the photo,
the whole family in front of the barn of their Estancia FitzRoy, in
the 30's. Source: Entre el rio de las vueltas y los hielos continentales
[Between the twisting river and the continental ice], by Patricia