Sunday, 8 October 2017

#52Stories, Week 41, What were the faith and religious traditions of your ancestors ? How did those traditions influence the course of their lives and by extension, your life today ?

One thing about family history research – you get to read all sorts of church records. In English, often badly written. In Latin, trying to remember those lessons from college (Latin is a language as dead as dead can be, first it killed the Romans and now it’s killing me) In French, same thing.

So faith and religious traditions of my ancestors ?

Originally I guess they were Pagan. Eventually they'd all have been Catholic – who wouldn’t be ? The desire to stay alive was probably a big influencer for that choice. Then came the reformation – and for the same reasons that they hadn’t dared to stray from the path before – they switched.

Some though were Protestant in defiance of the “norm”. They were Huguenots, persecuted in France and Belgium and exiled themselves to England from the mid 1500’s. They settled in the Spitalfields area of London and carried on their trade as silk weavers, attending L’Église Protestante Française on Threadneedle Street.

Eventually though all branches on the tree seem to have become members of the established church – the Church of England.

Over time some left, following other protestant evangelists, but many still bound to the established church for ceremonies. Inspired by alternative ideals they joined the Salvation Army, the Latter Day Saints or becoming Methodist, Primitive Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist.

Some were heavily involved with the faith that they chose and followed.

Henry James, great great great grandfather was a lay preacher at his Primitive Methodist chapel in Dudley.

John Daniels, brother of my great great grandmother left Wiltshire with his family to settle in Utah. His eldest daughter Mary married Jesse Gardiner in 1873. He had returned from Utah with other Elders in 1872 to preach the gospel on the Bristol Conference. Mary later contested his will after their marriage was declared illegal when the church changed its stance on polygamous marriage.

Julius Horskins, first cousin of my great grandfather joined the Salvation Army after attending meetings near his home in Notting Hill as a 12 year old. He went on to work in the West Indies, Costa Rica, India, South Africa and became Commissioner of Australia and New Zealand.

Thomas Morrison, first cousin of my grandmother, born in New Zealand to immigrant parents. Joined the Mormon church and sailed with fellow congregationalists to San Francisco and travelled to Utah where he raised his families and established a well known business - Morrisons Pies.

Violet Timms, sister of my grandmother, joined the Baptist Church and trained as a missionary to serve in India.


Monday, 2 October 2017

#52Stories, Week 40, What was life like growing up, who did the chores, what were meal times like ?

Well, the boxes have arrived, but I've not been able to find that list I made back in July of blog topics to keep me busy and catch up. I think I am almost on track - I just have to count to be sure that today is the 40th Sunday of the year...or maybe that was last week.

I did have something else in mind for this week, but I was reading Kim Wolterman's blog posts as part of this challenge tonight and she had a couple which I thought seemed interesting. So I have combined them into one.

Life pretty much ran like clockwork, following a routine set by Mum and Dad - and probably learned from their parents and adapted to suit each other.

Mum did most chores in the house and Dad did the outside ones - until we were old enough to start helping out. So washing, cooking cleaning, vacuuming were Mum's domain and lawns, rubbish and gardening were Dad's. Other things like putting out the milk bottles and dishes were shared - until they became ours to do. They were also a great team when it came to planning and transforming the garden or redecorating. Wallpaperers extraordinaire - a real production line process.

Mum organised the shopping too. She'd phone the butcher and place an order to last a week - and he would deliver it all in his little van. If we had a car - sometimes we would go and collect it instead. Groceries mostly were from the Four Square at Five Cross Roads - where McDonalds is now. A lot of time was spent waiting, waiting, waiting on our behalf while Mum chatted with Bubbles and Digger (the owners, and only staff members I ever saw there). I wonder what their real names were. Last name Morris i think because it was called the Morris Building from memory. Fruit and veges came from the greengrocer over the road - and if we were good we might get a treat from Gailer's to take home (cream cakes and pastries !)

Meal times were all around the table with our best table manners. No elbows, eating everything on our plates - even the PEAS ! Even if it took until bedtime ! We had a jar too that we were meant to put 2 cents into if we said "Eh".

Breakfast too was everyone together to start the day. Big breakfasts as well. Mum would say it didn't matter then if we didn't eat our lunches - she knew we had had a monster meal to start the day. Cereal plus egg on toast , toast as well sometimes and juice to drink.

Both meals were great opportunities to share plans for the day, and later reflect on what had happened.

I've not been so good at keeping that tradition myself. Initially I did try, but lack of space, lack of furniture and busy lifestyles - eating on our laps became our thing. Still together though and still talking about our day. I do miss that. Maybe I will get it back very soon. It is in my plan.

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.