Friday, 31 July 2020

Memories of Tauranga in the 1940s

From a contributer who wishes to remain anonymous.
Authors older sister feeing the lambs and calves
Image used by permission, Private collection
I moved here from Taranaki as an 11 year old with my parents, a house cow named Susan who had to be “finger milked” due to her tiny teats, my pony Rajah and a ginger cat that stowed away under the cover of our trailer during a stop at Awakino. My older siblings were working away from home by this time.

Author and her pony on the front lawn of their home
Image used by permission, Private collection
We had inherited a family home and its contents and consequently most of our china and linen etc was to be stored upstairs for the next 50 years. My parents slept in the high four-poster bed and I had an equally high single bed in another room. The third bedroom was full of paperwork stashed there by Father’s aunt. For a long time we were ‘called upon’ at home by her various very elderly friends.

Corner of Spring and Willow Streets, 1940s
Tauranga City Libraries, Ref 99-807
I’m sure Mother’s heart sank when she saw the primitive plumbing. The inside bathroom had a old toilet with the high cistern from which hung the ‘chain’ that was used for flushing, and a tin bath with one cold tap only. The outside bathroom was  better, with hot water installed, but getting back into the house on a dark night, with no outside lights, I found very scary. There was a double concrete tub and a copper in the wash house but no washing machine.The kitchen had a very ancient looking electric stove on thin legs and the old solid elements. Father did get that upgraded and installed a new HWC in there too.

View of bakery outlet (below the Regent neon sign) South side of Spring Street, 1963
Tauranga City Libraries, Ref. 99-1199
The garden was rather overgrown with many archways, pergolas and wooden gates but it was paradise as far as I was concerned. Some small areas were able to be fenced off and provided grazing for our many pet lambs. In the nearby streets there were many empty sections where animals could eat down the long grass My pony was kept on what is now the cricket ground and we kept a pig, milked several Jersey cows and there were the usual chooks and ducks. Cameron Road was a narrow roadway with wide verges and a lovely track along the western side, a rider’s dream.

Charle Haua the blacksmith
Tauranga City Libraries, Ref 02-096
The town blacksmith was Charlie Haua and his smithy was in Grey Street beside what is now the National Bank. My father at times had things made or mended by him and of course I rode my pony there to be shod also. Sometimes Mother would give me a shilling and ask me to call at Parnwell’s Bakery outlet on the south side of Spring Street for half a dozen fruit buns. Before going into the shop I would tie my pony to a verandah post and once I had the buns ride home up Willow Street. Occasionally I would see Constable Lochie on his bicycle, his daughter Claire was one of my riding buddies.

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