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Century old Maltese passport photos in 2022 calendar

Century old Maltese passport photos in 2022 calendar

Identity Malta Agency and the National Archives have launched a calendar with a difference for the year 2022, containing 100-year-old passport photos!

Among the stories within the calendar lies that of Everaldo and Josephine Dimech nee Hamilton, aged 30 and 22 respectively, who applied for their passports in the year 1922, as they planned to travel to Tangayika in Tanzania, a former British territory. The stories also include Loreto Cauchi, a sailor from Għajnsielem who in the year 1922, at the age of 26, was looking for a job in France.

Douglas William Gordon, whose story is also included in the calendar, needed to make his way to England for treatment for his heart problems, at the age of 26. Giulia Casolani nee Zammit, on the other hand, aged 55, travelled around the world in 1922, with plans to travel to France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary.

The calendar portrays 12 profiles, one for each month of the year. Every month displays a passport photo as well as the story of the featured individual, who applied for their passport photo 100 years ago. The calendar, which was financed and designed by Identity Malta, opens an eye-opening window for Maltese society, at a time when the Maltese were the subordinates of the British.

Photo: DOI Darren Agius

During the launch, Ryan Dimech, head of the HR department at Identity Malta, noted the difference between the digitally advanced passports as we know them today, and those that were issued 100 years ago. The latter were just a folded paper, which contained information about the applicants, and their destination. At the time, Dimech added, more than a single applicant could be listed on the same market.

The photos and stories about the people were provided by the National Archives and director Charles Farrugia said that unlike the present, a century ago people travelled for health reasons, emigration, visiting relatives or inheritance and not for pleasure. Farrugia encouraged greater collaboration in order to breathe life back into the history that shaped the Maltese nation.

Alex Muscat, parliamentary secretary for citizenship and communities, noted that the collaboration serves to underline the importance of the passport document, which many of us take for granted. Not only is it crucial to deliver us from one country to another, it also serves as a reflection of time. He went on to thank Identity Malta, which receives around 130 passport applications per day.

Want to get your hand on one of the calendars? Identity Malta will be distributing a limited amount of copies to those applying for a new passport. The calendar will also be made available online for the public to download.