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‘One Dimension Too Many’ This was how the Evening Post described a Polaroid-clad audience during the screening of a 3-D film at The Tudor, Wellington in April 1953. The plastic mac, pearls and beret ensemble make quite a fashion statement. Turn to page 10 for a charming article by Christopher Moor. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ. Ref: EP/1953/0753-G. Evening Post Collection.


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Dear Readers,

Editor Wendy Photo Anne C Admi David Grap Icon Distri Gordo Subsc

The year is marching on and, once again, we have a variety of engaging stories from all around the country. One of my most frequently asked questions is ‘Will the magazine ever run out of material?’ After almost seventeen years in the job, I can categorically say ‘No’; we currently have more articles awaiting publication than ever before. Invariably, the reflections of the past that cross my desk accentuate a positiveness. No matter what the hardships, there always seemed to be a place for fun and laughter amongst the day to day struggles. In these accounts, community friendship and support often features as a key component of coping with the rigours of everyday life. The story of the three lads from Bournmouth, relayed by Bernard Welch, is a great example of lifelong camaraderie away from home. Emigration to a far-flung land to begin a new life without the support of family would have posed a challenge in any decade. The diaries of Clive Skilton’s Great-grandfather John, who farewelled family in London in 1857 at the age of nineteen to try his luck in the colonies, give detailed insight into his daily dealings once settled in the Nelson region. The poignant article by Anne Webber, written in tribute of the numerous New Zealanders who gave their lives in the service of their country, is a fine piece of writing and marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War. Many readers will have personal memories of the war years and others, such as myself, were raised by parents who served. My own dear father was stationed in Egypt, and my father-in-law was based in the Solomon Islands as an aircraft engineer maintaining Catalina flying boats. Not that either ever talked about their experiences of course… As the longer evenings of a fast-approaching winter draw near, keep warm and enjoy some reading and reflection. Articles from notable authors Ivan Taylor, Christopher Moor and Leonie Couper lead the selection of this 108th Issue with more sterling contributions. Wendy Rhodes Editor

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Editor Wendy Rhodes Photographic Scanning Anne Coath Administration David Rhodes Graphics by Icon Distributed by Gordon and Gotch Subscriptions & Enquiries Phone tollfree: 0800 696 366 Mail: Freepost 91641, PO Box 17288, Green Lane, Auckland email: Annual Subscription $69 for 6 issues (Price includes postage within NZ) For overseas postage: Add $45.00 for Australia Add $65.00 for Rest of the World Contributors Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ Anderson, Bruce Atkins, Rae Bay of Plenty Times Bensemann, Paul Couper, Leonie de Bonnaire, John Henderson, Wayne Lascelles, David Lowe, Geoffrey J. McLeod, Violet Moor, Christopher Murdock, Tui Ovens, Don Paine, Selwyn Peka, June Priest, Les Russell Museum Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka Simpson, Patricia Sir George Grey Special Collections Skilton, Clive Spear, Brian Spinks, John S. State Library of Victoria Strang, Ian Taylor, Ivan Teague, Beverley The Kauri Museum, Matakohe The Treasury, Thames Trask, Peter Ujdur, Simon Ward, Richard Webber, Anne Welch, Bernard Wilson, Mrs Opinions: Expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of New Zealand Memories. Accuracy: While every effort has been made to present accurate information, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright: All material as presented in New Zealand Memories is copyright to the publishers or the individual contributors as credited.

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Cabbage Tree Ned: Coachman Extraordinary


Otago’s 1860s Australian import. By Ivan Taylor.

A Rolls Could Not Replace Gertie


Bruce Anderson remembers Remuera icon Miss Amy More.

3-D Movies Come to New Zealand


Christopher Moor documents the advent of a new medium.

A Memory of Summer


‘Martinborough, my hometown’ writes Leonie Couper.

A Dot Known


A poignant reminder from Anne Webber.

And the Rain Poured Down…


Story by Rae Atkins, photographs from Geoffrey Lowe.

My Grandmother’s Brooch


A delightful tale from Beverley Teague.

From the Regions: Coromandel / Bay of Plenty Centrefold: Tauranga Waterfront, 1876 ‘The Bournemouth Gang’: Friends for Life

28 36 38

A powerful story related by Bernard Welch.

A Sharp Tongue and a Wooden Jam Spoon


By Paul Bensemann

New to Print


Great-grandfather John


From London to Nelson 1857: Documented by Clive Skilton.

Turning Boys into Soldiers


Cadet Corps on parade by Selwyn Paine

From the Regions: Northland Mailbox

58 68

Team of ’51 Answers Reunion Call


Index and Genealogy List


Editor’s Choice: Higgledy Piggledy


A cute snapshot from John de Bonnaire Cover image: Tea for Two. Can readers help identify these sweet little girls for contributor June Peka? ISSN 1173-4159 June / July 2014


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Cabbage Tree Ned: Coachman Extraordinary


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Cabbage Tree Ned, photographed in 1902, holds a horsewhip and reins.

John Lockwood photographer, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

By Ivan Taylor

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abbage Tree Ned, or to give him his real name, Edward Devine, was born in Tasmania. At the age of seventeen he moved to Victoria to drive coaches for Lascelles on the Ballarat to Geelong run. Ned was spotted by Freeman Cobb who recognised his knowledge of horses and amazing driving skills and immediately employed him. Cobb had come from America, along with a manager from the Adams Express Coy company in 1853, to set up a branch of their company in Melbourne. Upon arrival, the American manager decided that there was not the opportunities in Australia he was looking for and returned immediately to America. Cobb saw it differently and resigned from the Adams Express Coy and, along with three other drivers, set up Cobb & Co. The company grew rapidly and became famous for its service and reliability, and for its use of the ‘Concord’ coaches. Although still only seventeen, Devine became one of Cobb & Co’s top drivers and was in charge of an eight-horse team on the Ballarat to Geelong run, and a six-horse team to Melbourne. When the All England cricket team visited Australia in 1861-62 he was chosen to drive them around Australia in a specially built coach pulled by twelve grey horses harnessed in pairs with separate reins to each pair. This meant that he had six sets of reins to control. There were all sorts of stories about Ned’s experiences with bushrangers, where his driving expertise often won the day. His skill at driving one-handed at top speed with a gun in the other hand tended to make

the bushrangers think twice if they knew that it was Ned driving. Despite a large offer of extra money to stay with Cobb, Ned decided to move to New Zealand and work for Charles C. Cole, one of Cobb’s drivers. Cole had moved to Dunedin and, on the 4th October 1861, he established his own coaching company. It was named ‘Cobb & Co. c.c. Cole and Company’. It had no connection with the Australian Company, Ned was just using their good name like many other companies in both countries were doing. The Otago gold rush was on and hundreds of miners and supplies needed to be transported into Central Otago. Ned became very much one of their senior drivers and loved demonstrating his skills; he was always looking for people willing to lose money on his driving skills. Once, on the main street of Dunedin, he placed a gold coin on the ground under the rear wheel of the coach stating that he could drive it with his four-in-hand in a full circle without moving the wheel off the coin. A variation on this was when he would draw a circle on the ground and take bets that he could drive the coach in a circle within the circle marked on the ground. Ned always won. Ned was selected to drive the Duke of Edinburgh through Otago when he visited New Zealand. Wanting to impress the Duke, he drove a specially painted and prepared coach four-in-hand at full gallop down the wharf and made an extreme 180 degree turn into a very small space right in front of the Duke. The Duke was most impressed and later presented him with a ‘hansom gold-mounted driving whip’, which Ned

Cobb & Co. coach driver Ned Devine (Cabbage Tree Ned) departs from the Black Bull Hotel in Malop Street, Geelong ca1865. Henry Goldman photographer, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.


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Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ. Ref: MNZ-0643-1/4-F. Making New Zealand Collection.


A Cobb and Co’s coach crosses the Waimakariri River in flood in 1875. An engraving from a drawing by Thomas Cousins for the Illustrated New Zealand Herald.

treasured. This whip is now on permanent display at the Otago Museum. On another occasion Ned was travelling down a steep hill when he found out that the brake was not working. Usually the brake is used to keep the coach from running onto the rear of the horses when going down hill. Ned told everyone to hold on tight, and immediately whipped the horses into a full gallop to keep them just ahead of the coach down to the bottom of the hill eventually stopping part way up the next hill. Ned moved up to Christchurch when Cole opened a branch there and drove coaches on both the Arthurs Pass run to the West Coast and the Main South Road run to Dunedin. Ned was a great practical joker, forever playing tricks on his passengers. On the Dunedin run he stopped at Moeraki on the coast where passengers often bought fresh fish from the local fishermen. Once underway, he would point out that sometimes the fish caught at Moeraki were poisonous, there was often something in the water there, and warned about eating them. ‘Just leave them on the floor and I will get rid of them for you’. Guess who had fish for tea that night.

On another occasion, while on the West Coast run, he was asked why he had a spare horse tied onto the rear of the coach. He replied that there were bushrangers in the area and he needed it. If they attacked the coach, it was his get away horse. The passengers panicked and said, ‘What about us’. He replied, ‘don’t worry it’s only me that they want as I have got all the gold strapped under my shirt’. Later on, Ned let them know that he was only joking; the animal was a replacement for a sick horse at one of the changing stations. On yet another occasion on the same road, a policeman and his prisoner were riding with him on the box seat. At a changing station just before they entered the bush, he quietly spread the word that they should all keep an eye out for the prisoner’s mates who could be hidden in the bush somewhere hoping to rescue him. This caused concern to several of the passengers, particularly the women, who refused to go any further on the journey. Ned gave them three minutes to get on board or he would leave them behind. At this point the policeman realized what was happening and explained to all of the passengers that Ned was only having them on. They all reluctantly re-boarded, although still keeping a lookout. This


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was one of the few occasions that a passenger made a formal complaint against Ned. Not that it worried him! Ned’s skill with a rifle was often demonstrated in Central Otago when, all of a sudden, he would start firing shots from his rifle while still driving along the track much to the alarm of his passengers. When questioned why, he said that he was frightening off bushrangers. The truth was revealed when he stopped the coach to pick up a dead rabbit. It was not only his driving skills that Ned was known for; he was also an expert at breaking in the coach horses. In Christchurch he used what is now Latimer Square, then just a partly fenced paddock near Cobb & Co’s yards in Hereford Street. Whenever Ned was breaking in horses, crowds of onlookers gathered around to watch him at work. Ned finally gave up driving coaches and moved back to Dunedin where, for a while, he drove the trams. In 1878, he returned to Australia and obtained a job driving coaches in Western Australia until retiring in 1894. The photograph below was taken in 1902.

He must have fallen on hard times as he was taken into care on the 12 July 1904, being admitted to the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum, where he died on the 18 December 1908. Ned Divine was buried in the Ballarat Cemetery (his age is given as 71. Thirty years later his remains were removed to a more prominent part and a memorial erected on his new grave in memory of him and all coach drivers. This memorial looks out over Ballarat. But what about the nickname ‘Cabbage Tree Ned’? In Australia he wore a large wide brimmed hat, but when he came to New Zealand he made up his own wide brimmed hats from the leaves of the native cabbage trees. They were waterproof; they kept him cool and kept the sun out of his eyes. This name is on his memorial stone alongside his real name. n Footnote: As motorcars and trains gradually took over most of the long distance travel, coaching finally died out in the South Island with the last coach running over Arthurs Pass on the 4 August 1923.

Henry Goldman photographer, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

‘…when he (Ned) came to New Zealand, he made up his own wide brimmed hats from the leaves of the native cabbage trees.’


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A Memory of Summer By Leonie Couper


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From left: Rass, baby Joe seated on author Leonie’s lap and Judy Howells.


artinborough, my home town, is surrounded by rivers. In summer when the temperature rises to 30 degrees and the sun scorches the earth, the rivers are a magnet. The ‘Ruamahanga’, once volatile, was tamed by a diversion in 1983. Its offspring the ‘Huangarua’, mild mannered, except when in flood, was used by cows crossing from the nearby farm. A third river, officially part of the Huangarua but known locally as the ‘Hikawera’, was our favourite. On a summer Sunday in the 1950s our parents often took us for a picnic to Hikawera. The night before Mum put a jelly to set in a concrete tub in the washhouse, while our grandmother rolled pastry and baked a large bacon and egg pie in the oven of the coal range. On the morning of the picnic my sister Judy and I cut cold mutton sandwiches from the Saturday roast and made a thermos of tea while our younger brother Rass mixed up Gregg’s orange cordial in a glass flagon and rolled it around the linoleum floor of the pantry to dissolve the sugar. Hikawera, three miles east of Martinborough on the road to Hinakura, was too far to walk for 75-year-old Nan or Mum pushing baby Steve in a pram with 15-month-old Joe perched on the front. So it was Dad’s job to phone one of the stock agents of the firm he worked for to ask if he could borrow his car. If no car was available Dad hired Todd’s taxi. Seatbelts were ten years away; children’s car seats even further, so a crowded taxi was no more of a problem than a crowded stock agent’s car. Into the car boot went a cardboard box filled with picnic stuff along with milk formula for baby Steve, spare napkins, a canvas fold-up chair for Nan, old towels, a grey army blanket and the ‘Sports’ Post’. Nan plumped herself in the front seat with Steve or Joe on her lap. Mum sat in the back with the rest of us piled onto each other’s knees. No-one wanted the middle seat with the hump of the transmission under their feet. Dad drove. In short time we reached the bridge over the Hikawera River. Opened in December 1907 by Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward, the bridge spanned the river with three wooden arches and was suspended by thick tar wrapped cables anchored either end to concrete strainers. It creaked and swayed as our car rumbled over the planks of its decking. 15

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Panoramic views of the Tauranga waterfront, 1876 Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ. Ref: F-94379-1/2.


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‘The Bournemouth Gang’ - Friends for Life Related by Bernard Welch in May 2013.


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Gordon Phillip Scott, David Raymond Harrison and Bernard Welch, three lads from England, emigrate to New Zealand in December 1950.


first met Gordon Scott when I was sent to an orphanage in Romsey, Hampshire at five years of age in 1935 to join my two brothers. Gordon was there with his elder brother Derek. None of us were orphans; my mother was in hospital at the time and, as Dad had to work each day, it was the best solution. I do not know for sure why Gordon and Derek were there but have always presumed it was for a similar reason. During 1941 I was at primary school when Gordon came into the classroom, we recognized each other straight away. His family had moved to Bournemouth, where I lived, to escape the bombing of Portsmouth and we struck up a friendship. After Easter of 1943, I left primary school to take a building course at the local technical college; David Harrison started on the same day in the same class. When we had finished the course in 1945 quite a few of the boys were taken on by a builder together with about four instructors to construct eight houses for the town council. This took about two years and then we went to various builders in the town to complete our apprenticeships. At this time (1946), I was playing football for a boys’ club together with Gordon. One Sunday evening we were playing at the local park when Dave happened to come along and, after the game, I introduced Dave to Gordon. This was the start of a lifelong friendship between the three of us; it lasted until Gordon and Dave’s death over the past three years. The three of us spent time together until 1948 when we were conscripted for National Service; Dave went into the army and was sent to Malaya for fifteen months, Gordon joined the R.A.F. and was sent to Germany as part of the occupation forces at the time and I went into the R.A.F. but could not get out of Britain to an overseas posting. By June of 1950 we had completed our service and got back together again in Bournemouth where we had a great summer enjoying beach parties and dances. One evening, late in October, Gordon and I met Dave at the usual rendezvous by

Bournemouth pier where we made a decision that was to change our lives. Dave had been working in Southampton and, as the job was coming to an end and he was a bit bored (after his spell overseas), said that he had decided to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand for a couple of years. It took Gordon and I no more than three seconds to say ‘we are coming with you’. The following Saturday we obtained the necessary forms for New Zealand (they were out of Australian forms!) from the Labour Department which we completed and duly sent away. On 8 December 1950 we embarked on the Atlantis from Southhampton to begin our adventure. The voyage to New Zealand took six weeks and four days; it was a great experience and we called in at Port Said, Aden, Colombo and Freemantle. During our one-day stopover in Perth, we had the largest steak meal we had ever seen! On our arrival in Wellington 22 January 1951 - we anchored near Somes Island (I think the tide must have been out) and officials from the Immigration and Labour Department boarded the ship. After a talk by a couple of the officials in the main lounge of the ship, we were all given envelopes containing instructions as to where we were to be sent. Mail was also delivered, and Dave’s letter from his brother contained a ten pounds sterling note which he split between the three of us (we were all broke by that time). Upon opening the envelopes, we found that Dave and I were to go to the South Island to work on the extension to the Waitaki hydro, whilst Gordon was headed for Auckland as a woodworking machinist. So we were split up. The following morning the Atlantis docked at the overseas wharf and we saw Gordon off on the overnight train from Wellington to Auckland. Dave and I boarded the overnight ferry Rangatira to Lyttelton. At Lyttelton we boarded the train on the wharf for Oamaru en route for Waitaki. At Oamaru we had a couple of hours to wait for the bus to Kurow, so we decided to have a beer. I think we walked the length

Left: Bern, Gordon and Dave in back garden of 133 Pine Road in 1950 prior to leaving England.


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Higgledy Piggledy, My Black Hen… John de Bonnaire is the contributor of this cute snapshot, probably photographed by his mother with the family’s old Box Brownie camera in about 1935 or 1936. John writes, ‘The two children are my sister Joan and myself. We had just fed the hens (note the basin at my feet). We had a fairly healthy respect for the beaks of the hens, as we’d already found out that they knew how to use them! The shed and chook house, where the hens roosted at night and laid their eggs can be seen in the left hand corner. It was located at the back of the house in Queen Street, Levin. In those days paddocks surrounded this property; now the area is all built upon.’ Can you complete the remainder of the old nursery rhyme?


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