img20190127_used2.jpg | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong


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This photograph is interesting as it showa some sort of bird cage on what appears to be a balcony. Can any body tell me about the bird cage and possibly identify the "white building" in the background. Yet agin date unknown

Many thanks

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1930


Greetings.  I agree the bird cage was placed on the balcony wall.  The owner might have tested its stability.   What happens when they fly in the same direction?

They look like five budgies kept as pets which are sociable birds.  They could be small parrots which cost more - this unlikely given the made of the cage.  Budgies also sing.

This is a economy cage, easier to build compared to round-house type where the tiny bamboo sticks are heated and bent during construction.  I think it was lined with fine wires with wood base and beams.  Fine bamboo sticks could be used but these are quite long and would have run into bamboo knots.  I watched my friend making bird cages.  He pulled (with a pair of pliers) a coarse bamboo stick through successive smaller holes to make it round and to proper diameter.

The drawer at the bottom slides out for cleaning, newspapers were commonly used  line the bottom.

Bird feeds and water were placed on the floor of this cage.  A better place would be partway up on the side.  Rich bird hobbyists in those day were willing to pay high price for a pair of porcelain feed/water containers/cups.  Some have blue decorations on the outside, some with more colours. 

A relative gave me a single tiny porcelain cup ending with a tip at its base, and had multi-colour and intricate drawings on the side.  A single one would not attract much money, but  a pair would make a big differnce.   One adult bird hobbyist offered to buy it from me because he happened to have a similar single.  I was a still young then, too afraid to sell because it was a gift.

Regards,  Peter


Can I say thank you for the detailed information on the bird cage in the photograph. Atlest I know more about this element of life in the colony.

With Regards


You are very welcome AW.  On second look, it appears the containers were attached to the side of the cage.These budgies were most likely kept by a family with children or a couple as pets.

Another element of HK life which still exists today:  Where the cage is small and has only one bird, it is likely a male bird kept by an adult/senior man for its singing ability, companionship when he goes out to meet his friends and their birds.

I kept birds from green singing finch to large ones like Myna, the latter exchanged a few words with me but he and his cage would have been too heavy to take along to join the crowd.  This teenager stayed quiet and learned from what they talked about - world events, work, HK politics, chores after retirement, seldom about their family.  And never about women - either their age factor or they noticed there was apparently a minor in the crowd.  Cheers!  Regards,   Peter

is this definitely HK? I am finding it difficult to figure out where this might be given the largely flat nature of the background. Even in Kowloon I would expect to see some hills in the background. Can anyone identify the prominent building at the back?

Greetings.  It could be someone's rich mansion who preferred to live far out in the country.  However, there appears to be a tall structure attached to it, an observation tower perhaps?  It could be a rural police station.
If it was on a Hong Kong's remote island, the camera might be aiming at mostly open water.   If within New Territories, was it possible some early cameras/films could not capture more distant objects?

[ Edit - The distant ridgelines in several of AW's photo prints are faded or not visible.  What could have caused this problem? - - Cheung Chau - Cheung Chau - beyond TST clock tower ]

As for the design of the building, it is similar to the former Au Tau Police Station -   .  Since no distant hills or Au Tau's line of trees are visible in this photo, I cannot say it is a match.
Regards,   Peter

A pity that the bird cage is blocking the vista. As some photos from AW have been identified as being related to Cheung Chau, the above photo could have been taken from the southwest side of the island as viewed here 

I have a number of photographs which as a collection were under the title Hong Kong. I assume that they all relate to the area, but cannot confirm this 100% Unfortuantely there will be some more unidentified sites. As and when I have time to go through them all.

Many thanks for the continued updates. Appreciated. The photograph appears to be causing a few id issues.

Thank you for the comment. Apologises for the quality. Best scan that could be done. Some of the old photographs I have are not in very good condition. All help in idnetification is apprecaited as I have no idea where the pictures were taken

Greetings AW.  No need to apologize, your photos are fine with quality and prints expected from those years.  They bring readers here to discuss and share our HK memories.  Chances are some will prompt someone to say "Oh yes, I remember and saw / walked by that place too!"   Regards,  Peter