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.