1930s "Carring firewoods"
What: As the postcard's misspelled title says, we're looking at firewood.
This was destined for Hong Kong's kitchens, as most people in 1930s Hong Kong cooked over a wood fire. A 1938 newspaper article said that firewood was the principal fuel for over 95% of Hong Kong's population, with supplies coming from four main sources: Macau, Kongmoon in Guangdong, Singapore, and Sandakan in British North Borneo (modern-day Sabah, a state in Malaysia).
Where: The photo was taken on the Connaught Road seafront. The small building in the background was at the entrance to one of Connaught Road's many piers - I can make out a couple of rickshaws in front of the building, waiting for passengers, and the funnels of a larger ship in the distance.
Here's a sharper view of the area.
One curiosity is that the road looks to be surfaced with bricks, something I haven't noticed before.
Who: The man is one of a team who are moving the firewood. First they'd unload it from the junks that delivered it to the seawall. Then they'd carry it inland to a store or warehouse. They'll be busy for a while yet, as there's plenty more firewood stacked up in the background.
When: The back of the postcard has this note - can any of Gwulo's linguists spot if there is anything interesting in it?
It was written on 24 May 1939. We don't know exactly when the photo was taken, but likely some time in the previous decade. I'll date it to the 1930s.
Gwulo photo ID: K185
Shoulder poles are one of the themes of the new Gwulo book. Though this photo didn't make the book, you can see some that did in Gwulo's selection of photos tagged 'shoulder pole'.