Thursday, 28 September 2017

So this happened

Today a truck arrived bright and early and brought all this !!

No more living out of a suitcase. 
No more thinking "I could do this"...and then "oh no I don't have that right now"

Luckily the spring weather hasn't warmed up overly fast and we've been able to get by with the clothes we bought with us. It will be nice to choose something different though.

What else has been going on ?

I have completed my first unit for my Diploma and submitted my assignment ahead of the closing deadline. Now I have a few weeks before the next one starts.

In between study, and walking back and forth to the shops (no car) I've been applying for jobs, sometimes hearing nothing, sometimes just getting rejections - but once getting an interview ! Still have a few in the pipeline to hear back from so watch this space.

Tomorrow is a public holiday. For Grand Final Eve !! What the ? 

Sport is a big thing here, especially VFL/AFL. I quite like footy - I don't get all the rules, but I like that there isn't so much stoppage time (if any). When I worked in Adelaide we would have a sweepstake every week to pick the score for the match of the week. I used to just pick numbers (no clue) and won quite often which annoyed the boys no end. I'm a Swans girls though, so I have no idea who might come out on top on Saturday. The colours don't help me either being originally a Chiefs girl and now a 'Cane's supporter.

Dustin Martin (part Kiwi) is the star player for Richmond (Tigers) and won the Brownlow this week - so I'm kinda leaning that way. And actually the Crows aren't quite Chiefs colours so - we'll see.

Then, on Sunday it's the NRL grand final in Sydney. Storm vs Cowboys. Again I have no clue 'cos my Sharks aren't there ! also, it doesn't seem right that it is Queensland vs Victoria - where are the New South Wales teams ?

It is also daylight saving changeover here this weekend. Summer must be on the way.

Oh - and the next public holiday here is also a sport related one - Melbourne Cup ! 

Some things I have noticed

I have been doing lots of walking since we got here. Having no car makes walking a necessity, and Bendigo is very walkable. It is a great way to get your bearings as well.

There is this

The most casually posed sculpture of a King I ever saw

The Shamrock Hotel, where  Prince Charles and Princess Diana stayed on their first visit to Australia - who knew ? I think I read somewhere that Prince Philip stayed there as well on a trip he made.

The quirky benches on King and Queens Streets

The Yarn-Bombed Tram that travels the city through winter, but is now unadorned.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

#52Stories, Week 39, Grandfathers Part Two

My maternal grandfather Albert (Bert) Victor Fuller was born in Christchurch in 1906. He was the 3rd child of the family and the 2nd son.

They lived in Middleton Road (which was called Bowen Road originally) in the Wharenui Settlement (Upper Riccarton). Their land went from Middleton Rd toward McDowells Road (which is now Wharenui Road) and included the land which is now Colligan Street. It had originally belonged to his mother’s elder brother, but had bequeathed to her before she married. Her family were market gardeners, and many of the other residents of Middleton Road where in the business too. I’m not sure exactly what they grew (fruit I think) – but I KNOW there were a lot of raspberry canes. Along the road, heading back toward Riccarton Road, lived Aunts and Uncles from both sides of his family.

The little cottage they lived in, and I remember visiting is still there – a little changed, and swallowed up by in-fill housing all around it – if you know where to look.

His father worked with the Railways and was based at Middleton Station, just at the end of the road and down a bit. Blenheim Road wasn’t there then, just a dusty track to the saleyards.

At Sumner about 1908/9 - he is the littlest one in white

The family attended St Peter’s at Church Corner, although Bert and his elder sister Edie were both married at St Barnabas in Fendalton.

I will need to do some more research to be sure, but I would guess that he most likely went to Wharenui School which had opened in 1907 on Matipo Street. After Primary School he attended the Technical High School (or College – his reference, which Mum has, from the principal includes both names on it !) in Barbadoes Street for two years from January 1920 – December 1921. After this, aged about 15 he began his 5 year apprenticeship in fitting and turning with P & D Duncan on St Asaph Street.

After completing his apprenticeship he worked for a year or so with P & D Duncan before embarking on a career with State Hydro starting at Lake Coleridge and continuing at many of the construction sites around the country until his retirement when at Whakamaru in the Waikato.

Some things I know – he enjoyed a game of Canasta and an involved code of secret signals between partners was encouraged. He didn’t enjoy Elvis being played again and again on the radiogram so much. He played saxophone and xylophone and played in a band. He also like bagpipes – and Nana didn’t. Maybe there is some Scot connection hidden way back in that branch of the tree ?

He could make a sixpence disappear by rubbing it on his trouser leg ! Once when babysitting me while Nana was out at a meeting, she came home to find us playing cricket in the hallway – oops.

I remember enjoying tinkering with tools with him in the garage, and lounging in the shade on deck chairs.

He was Grandad as opposed to Poppa, but I always called him GonGon…which was apparently Gone- Gone, as they would come to visit and then go home. Gone. It makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

#52Stories, Week 38, Grandfathers - Part One

Back in May, I wrote about my grandmothers – now it is time to do the same for my grandfathers.

My paternal grandfather Thomas Walter (Walt) Davys was born in Taupiri in 1900. His father had a sawmill there, on the banks of the Mangawara (Mangawhare) Stream. That is the one that you cross as you leave Taupiri driving north, just next to Taupiri Mountain – flowing into the Waikato River.

He was the sixth child in his family and the 4th son. His second christian name, Walter, was for his Uncle Walter – the gold miner. He became a big brother two years later. Some of his uncles must have also lived in Taupiri working at the sawmill. They had previously had a sawmill at Rukuhia. They were pretty talented cricket players the Davys brothers (senior) – often being mentioned in the sporting columns for their bowling and batting for Taupiri. Somerset cricket must have been bereft when the family left for New Zealand 40 years earlier.

The family lived in Taupiri until late 1907. His last day at Taupiri School was 30 September. From there they moved to Tamahere, south of Hamilton. He attended Tamahere School and later Hamilton High School. At Tamahere they lived behind the shop that was on the corner of Cambridge Rd/Tamahere Rd and what is now Airport Rd (but I don’t think it would have been known as that in 1907 !) leading to the Narrows bridge.

The shop also served as the Post & Telegraphic Office. In 1914 just after he had begun High School his father died. At some point after this, they moved into Hamilton. He left school in July after just 6 months and worked with his elder brothers as a baker in the bakery they ran in Oxford (known as Tirau these days, but if you look you might spot some buildings which still have the old name)

When he was 18 he joined the Territorials, his elder brothers had signed up and appear on Nominal and Reserve Rolls for WW1 but he was just too young.

I have heard he was a great gardener – that must be where my Dad got that from. He was the Chief Accounts Clerk at the Central Waikato Electric-Power Board.

I've heard stories about how annoyed he was with the Labour government's "black budget" of 1958 in which the Finance Minister Arnold Nordmeyer increased taxes on beer, tobacco, cars and petrol. So annoyed in fact that he had a picture of the culprit inside his tobacco tin and would curse him each time he opened it.

I don’t remember him at all, he passed away suddenly just a week before my brother Mark was born. I have recollections of other things at about this time in my life, so the memories must be there locked away for now – if only I could find the key.

#52Stories, Week 37, What are some of the stories you loved hearing about from your father’s youth ? Or from your grandfathers’s younger days ?

Dad had lots of stories which he shared about his childhood. They made the best bedtime stories.

I’ve already mentioned the rabbit they found on the embankment by the railway line one day. So tiny it fit into a teacup !

Another was about a solar eclipse. They knew it was going to happen and had prepared pieces of smoked glass so they would be able to look at the sun safely. On the day, he was so busy playing he didn’t notice the sky getting darker until it was too late.

Somewhere not too far away from home, there was a pond where they used to play. It was here that he was, the day the sky went dark and he had to run all the way home. I think there were tadpoles there and I know there was a mishap with his Mum’s favourite glass bowl. Maybe on the day the sky darkened !

Also nearby there were piles of sand where they used to go and make tunnels and play. Imagine parents today letting their kids go off for hours and hours and do this. They’d get reported to the authorities quick as blink.

At school he was in a production where the children were soldiers, nurses and the like – and he was the littlest soldier.

Sometimes in the school holidays he would go and stay with his Aunt and Uncle and cousins on their farm and help with jobs – like removing the thistles from a paddock !! Hard labour for many of today’s kids.

There were plenty of others too – but I think I need to make a more concerted effort to get them recorded. Maybe that will be a goal for my Oral History paper coming up.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Springtime in Central Victoria

So, spring has sprung and many photos have been taken on days when I have wandered into town to the shops, or to the library to print stuff.

I haven't tired yet of all the old buildings. A taxi driver told me they have pulled a lot down - but there are still enough for me ! Ghost signs on the sides of some speak of days gone by, others stand in all their glory, protected from the demolition people by their heritage listing.

Then there is the lake just down the road, with a great cafe and an easy stroll around the edges with lots of wildlife to see.

Then today, we got a rental car since it is a long weekend for Lauren and we are going exploring. This afternoon we found the Botanic Gardens.

what will tomorrow bring ?

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

#52Stories, Week 36, Fathers' Day

Dad was born in Hamilton. An inland town fast becoming a city. With a lake and a river running through the centre to separate it, east from west.

His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family all lived relatively close. If not in Hamilton, in smaller rural towns or on farms in the Waikato area.

He helped build our house, working with the builder after work and at weekends. He and Mum were a great wallpapering team, transforming rooms. Dad is very precise and has a strong attention to detail, so pattern matching was thorough and always perfect. Symmetry is key.

Dad went to computer programming classes at night school. Back when computers were so large they filled a room, and you had to feed punch cards into them which contained coded messages hidden in the binary numbers row upon row. Who knew that would catch on ?

He built a stereo too, importing all the little bits (fuses, valves and little transistory circuit things) to solder together in the right order and places. Speakers too, including building the speaker boxes.

There was always a good vege garden to be cared for and lots of lawn to mow. A little less once the double garage was built in place of the old toolshed and lean-to.

Dad liked gem collecting too and many holidays and weekends we went searching for rocks. He always talked about wanting to be able to polish them smooth, but that didn’t eventuate. I think this fascination with rock must be in his blood – passed down from those first settlers who went goldmining in the Coromandel.

Dad was also a stamp collector, we used to help with this. Carefully tearing the stamps from the corner of the envelopes and soaking them with water so that the stamp could be separated from the envelope and then leaving them to dry face down – ready to go in to an album.

He also loves astronomy – not astrology. I remember watching the moon landing on the tv early one morning. It seemed incomprehensible that people were actually in space, on the moon. Now they stay for months at a time in the International Space Station and fly over us at least once a day ! Dad started to build his own telescope, something that began with a thick chunk of glass cut in a circle, which needed to be ground to become concave. That seemed like a neverending task to me. Planetarium meetings and running sessions for the public kept him busy too. Committee meetings negotiating for premises in Harris Street and then starting again when the council decided to expand the library and carpark and take back the building and land. That move took them to the top of the cable car in the Botanic Gardens, where the Planetarium is still located.

Later, much like the stereo, he and some friends began to build their own home computers. The Commodore 64 came along though, and the home made version went on the back burner.

Dad was always calm and didn’t seem to lose his temper very often, he likes to do crosswords and read. These days Suduko have become a favourite pastime as well.

Genealogy is still an interest today. Search methods have changed from the way they were though, so much is available online. Although you can still go and search old and original records, not so much time is spent in library reading rooms anymore.

He’s a great story teller too, he would read to us at night – a chapter or two from whatever was the current novel we were reading. Or he would tell stories about when he was little and the adventures they would get up to. The eclipse of the sun, finding the teeny rabbit by the railway tracks, so small he fit in a tea cup and more.

As a grandfather too, he would read stories, putting on voices for each character in Goodnight Owl and the BFG – among others.

He’s a great Dad ! All wired up and techy; emailing, texting, whatsapping, skyping - you name it. I hope we are as on to it and willing to try new things too.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

#52Stories, Week 35, What future destinations are on your vacation wish list ? Which of them do you truly believe you will see in your lifetime ?

England – all the unexplored spots and all the special places to return to
Scotland – refer England
Wales – as above
USA – only seen 4 States, so plenty more to see there and in different seasons too
Australia – still 2 States and a Territory to tick off the list
Fiji – it is a l-o-n-g time since I was there

Perhaps India, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan in the spring…

I would like to think I could see half of them, but I think with careful planning and time management I might be able to see them all.

#52Stories, Week 34, What was the longest continuous vacation of your life ? How long were you gone ? Do you remember how much it cost ?


This would have to be the UK trip in 2014. It wasn’t going to be a vacation. It was intended to be a whole new life plan – for two years, maybe more. But ! Sometimes things just don’t turn out how you think.

Not sure what went wrong, probably planning and bad communication, different expectations – and all that. Nevertheless, we had a 3 month vacation in the end.

We explored almost every nook and cranny on that island. Coming from our own island nation we got a little thrill each time we crossed a border from England to Wales or Scotland to England. It just seemed so weird – no planes involved and no passports either. So unlike things on this end of the planet.

We met family members – some we had never met before. We explored villages and hamlets and churchyards and stepped in the footsteps of our forebears.

There weren’t many places we visited which we would not return to; and there were plenty we missed which are being saved for a return visit. One day.

Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire, Powys, Montgomeryshire, Flintshire, Devon, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Essex, Berkshire, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Kent, Monmouthshire, Denbighshire, Radnorshire, Brecknockshire, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Suffolk, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, Argyllshire, Inverness-shire, Selkirkshire, Roxburghshire, Dumfriesshire, Peeblesshire, Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland…some we just drove through, others we lingered for longer. Even more we wished we had had a better plan.

Still, we made some great memories and now there is the goal to get back and revisit, rediscover and just explore.