Nadia Arandjelovic·Your shorts are how short?!
Who wears short shorts? In this publicity photo Constable Robert Wooley measured the length of actress Eunice Gayson's shorts, but people seen dressed inappropriately in the 50s and 60s were handed notices called 'Green Tickets'.
From the Island’s first green buses to a notice handed out to scantily clad women here on spring break Horst Augustinovic’s latest book is filled with quirky facts.
‘What you may not know about Bermuda’ will be officially launched at the Bookmart at Brown & Co on Saturday from 11am to 3pm.
The 111-page book is a collection of unusual and less widely known bits of information on Bermuda.
For instance, did you know that police used to measure women’s skirts and shorts and hand out ‘green tickets’ to anyone considered improperly dressed in the 1950s and 60s? Or that the Island’s only papal visit was by Pope Paul VI? He stopped on our shores briefly following a trip to Bogota, Colombia in 1968.
Other interesting facts detailed in the book are that per mile, the Bermuda Railway was the most expensive railway ever built, at a cost of £200,000 in 1926; the first person to see Bermuda from the air was Governor General Sir James Willcocks in May 1919.
Mr Augustinovic said the book came after more than 40 years of in-depth research about the Island. He would stumble on one piece of information that would lead him to another detail. The effort became almost like a putting together a “little puzzle”, he said.
Born in Vienna, Austria, the graphic designer took up a job in the commercial printing division of The Bermuda Press in 1961.
He started collecting Bermudiana, local stamps, postcards, books and other historical items on the Island.
“I was a stamp collector even then [in Vienna] and that is why I started in Bermuda,” he explained.
Shortly after, he made the switch to researching the Island’s postal past. He said due to the Island’s geography it had a “tremendous history” for early sea mail as everything had to come by boat.
“They were just very interesting times,” Mr Augustinovic explained. “And when I was here in the 60s, Bermuda was still very important strategically with the American base and they did all the anti-submarine warfare from here, so it’s always been a very interesting place for me.”
The book includes a fair number of facts on postal history, such as details on the censorship of mail in Bermuda during the First World War. In January 1940, 112 bags of mail were taken from a Pan American Airways flying boat. They included securities and large money transfers and even packages of diamonds.
The Island’s Crystal Caves were also the site of a high-grossing silent film ‘Neptune’s Daughter’, produced by Universal Studios in 1914.
In 2008, Mr Augustinovic began writing historical columns for the publication ‘This Week in Bermuda’. After producing more than 50 articles he came to a crossroad.
At that time most of his articles were just reaching the tourist population and he wanted to create something that would be read by locals as well.
“I came to the point where I thought, ‘Have I written enough or should I carry on?’”, he said. “I realised it was enough to actually create a fairly decent book.”
Mr Augustinovic was involved in every process of the book, including the cover design. He said he wanted the front cover to stand out among other local history books on the shelf.
“Usually a Bermuda history book will have Bermuda illustrations in the background, but I wanted to do something different,” he said.
“Although it’s colour, which is expensive to print, I didn’t want it to be just a coffee-table book, I really wanted it to be read by people.”
Mr Augustinovic said he hoped the book would be a useful resource in teaching Bermudians about their history,