Cyril Lloyd (Lloyd) Curtis Interview

Today is the 4th of October 2016.  Today I’m interviewing Lloyd Curtis of Havelock North, a retired farmer.  Lloyd would you like to tell me something about your family – the life and times of your family from where it started, back in Scotland and England and wherever.

Back in Scotland?  Well, some of them come from Scotland.  But they were Smiths.  Do you know that?

No.

Oh.  My grandfather was a Scotsman but he was from a south island, and his name was Smith – Henry Jackson Smith, and they come from a big family, but that’s about all I know about them except that that’s my grandfather on mum’s side.  And the Curtis family – I think the Curtis family came from – I’m pretty sure it was from the wheat-growing area of England.  Is that right?

I’m not sure where the wheat-growing area was – was that Lincolnshire?

I think … Dad used to skite about … you were a man when you could carry a bag of wheat under either … [laugh]

Under either arm?

Yeah.

That’d be a double-striper too.

That’d be from that area.

Yes.

And – but gee, that’s going back a way – I don’t know anything about them.

But then they came to New Zealand obviously, and they came to Hawera, you say?

Well Hawera was the headquarters of the Curtis part I think.  I think Dad had a brother, five or six sisters, must have been five, might have been six sisters.  Do you know that too?

No.

Oh.

No – I don’t know any of these things. 

You don’t want to know that?

Yes I do.

Oh.  I think his brother was one of the eldest.  I don’t think he was the eld… I think he was about – Auntie Vi was I think the eldest in the family, and I think Dad’s brother might have been next, or somewhere round about that.  And Dad was the second to youngest.  What about the ones in between, do you want them?

No, that’s not that important as long as we’ve got the numbers – you said there were five daughters?

I think there was eight in that family – the rest were girls.  They were dairy farmers – some of the earliest in Taranaki, I’d think.

Well, they would’ve been milking by hand those days, wouldn’t they?

The girls did the milking and Dad and his sister – Dad was the second to youngest – and Dad said he could remember … what he remembered more than anything were the cows.  They didn’t milk them, but him and his sister fed the rest of the family, girls, with cows to milk.  The brother – he was older, quite a bit older – I never knew him – he did the separating, he turned that big handle.  And dad and his sister were the youngest, and they fed all the rest of the girls with cows.  And he said he remembers – one of his worst remembrances was cold, frosty mornings, bare feet on cobblestones, walking in and your feet slipping off the top of the stones and your toes hitting the other side …

Ooww!

… in the mud.  He said that was one of the … walking across … inch or so or more of mud, slipping on these stones and your toes hitting the other side.  They fed the other girls with cows while … Auntie Nell and Dad were the two youngest.  And it was all the other girls I think, ’cause I think Auntie Vi was the eldest – she was home doing the cooking.  ‘Cause … they never had a mother much I don’t think because having eight kids in those days one after the other killed mothers off pretty quick.  And I think that’s what happened to that family, because I don’t think their mother was – Dad never – he didn’t know his mother very much.

And so your father lived there until … you said he did his time as a blacksmith?

Yeah, well of course he – him and his brother … his brother was a lot older than him, but him and Auntie Nell were the two youngest, and he can remember his feet slipping on these cobblestones and getting sore toes on the cold mornings.  He wasn’t going to be a cow cockie. [Chuckle]

No, I don’t blame him.

So – he must have objected and so his father put him into – he was a blacksmith actually, but he wasn’t a farrier – you’ve gotta get that bit right. [Chuckle]

He didn’t shoe horses.

He didn’t shoe horses, no.  But Dad – he was good at his job and he ended up – Curtis and Spragg, in Taranaki.  I think that was a pretty good business.  Dad was a – he was pretty skilful at his job, but he used to get very bad headaches.  Very bad headaches actually, and the doctors, they couldn’t understand it, they couldn’t know why he got his headaches.  He put it down to looking in the white hot coals of a forge.

Could be.

And consequently he gave it up.  That was Curtis & Spragg in Hawera.  They had a big business over there, and he came over here and bought a broke-down orchard and become an orchardist.  [Chuckle]  And that’s where I was brought up.

Well – did he work in Hastings as a blacksmith?

It’s out at Longlands.

Did he work as a blacksmith in Hastings?

Oh, he was a blacksmith in Hawera.

But never in Hastings?

No.  No, no.  He … Ross, Dysart & McLean here wanted him to go and … they approached him to do their blacksmithing, but he said “no”.  He was over here to get away from it, not to …

Yes, so he bought the orchard?

He bought the broken-down blinkin’ orchard, and we’ve been orchardists ever since then.

So you had two brothers?

Oh, I had George – he was four years older than me, then there was a sister, Joyce, then there’s me, then there was Carol, then Bruce … Rosemary.

Oh, I didn’t realise you had sisters.

She was the youngest.

So when you all came over here, on this orchard, so you then you became orchardists.

Dad did.

What age were you when you came over here?

Oh, it was before the earthquake – I’d be about three.

Oh, yes, so …

I’d be in my third year or fourth year.

So you – all your schooling would have been in Hastings?

Oh, all of my life in orcharding and farming.

So where did you go to school in Hastings?

Central School.

Central School – everyone went to Central School those days.

Oh, well … the oldest school … [chuckle]

I know, I know.

Possibly just about right – every person about that age … it was about one of the only schools then … Mahora would be another one.

That’s the other one, yes.  So you went to school at Mahora [Central School] – did you play any sports at all?

Oh, only at school time.  I wasn’t a good pupil – I hated school.  And … we went on the train to start with, from Longlands …

Oh, of course, yes.

And – chucking stuff out of trains and that was part of the thing.  [Chuckle]  That finished up and then – then we walked.  And I think mum – there was another woman and mum – they agitated for the kids up to Pakipaki.  They finished up with a bus.

So then you went to – still went to school, to Central – did you go to high school?

Oh, yeah – well I was supposed to go to high school but I’d had enough school when I was – I wasn’t a good pupil.  Yeah, I went to high school for a bit.  But that was only until I could get out of not going to high school.

So when you got out of high school, what did you do then?

I went home to learn, or I didn’t learn, I was pruning and this sort of stuff on the orchard … working on the orchard.  Dad bought a farm ‘cross the road of forty-two acres bare land, and he got a contractor with horses.  And I took a liking to the horses and I got a job driving the damned horses then, for a while.  [Chuckle]

Did you?  Oh.

So – yeah, I was the – I’ve never been very big and yeah, I was ’bout sixteen I think, when I went to work for – yeah, Alec McDonald, with the horses.  And he was a pretty hard bloke.  And … oh, he was good to me – he was all right.  And I worked horses for a number of years.  Four-horse teams – I’d be about the last one ever to work the four-horse teams.  Yeah, we did a lot of work down Te Mahanga, Te Aute.

It must have been quite a big job, ’cause when you went to go to do a job it would take you half a day to get there wouldn’t it?

[Laughs]  Well I suppose so, it’d take you a while to get there.  No, I had a motorbike – my brother George, older than me, four years, and he had a motorbike.  Well I learnt to ride pretty quick, and as soon as I got … I had £15 I bought my first motorbike.  And it was a cracker too, it was pretty well – it was a Rudge, and it could go like a scalded cat.  [Chuckle]  And I rode that to work with Alec McDonald – I don’t know whether you knew Alec McDonald?

Yes – only just remember him.

Oh, well – Mac – he was a real tough man.  He was working at Bull & Hodgins – Bull was a very big bloke.

I know Bull, yes.

Mac’d walk in there and say “gidday Bull – where’s Hodgins?”  [Chuckle]  He wouldn’t talk to Bull.  Bull would just grunt because …

Well he always grunted.

Yeah, but he wouldn’t – Mac would have cleaned him up in about two seconds flat.  But Mac was a hard, hard man.  But – all that – I had a lot of time for Mac.  He treated me pretty good.  But he was – ooh, he was a tough bugger.

You had to do it properly.

Ooh, yeah.  And he was … he never hurt his horses, but oh, gee, he commanded them.  He’d say “whoa” – they’d stop all right.  [Chuckle] 

So you worked for him then …?

Oh, I did off and on, it wasn’t – I wasn’t … he’d arrive and he’d say “oh, is Lloyd very busy?”  And dad’d say “Oh, no”.  “Well, can I have him?” sort of thing, so I’d go and work for him.  But that was quite good, I didn’t mind that much, even though that was hard yakka – walking behind a blimmin’ heap of … team of four horses on the … I think in the open paddocks, just harrowing the open paddocks.  That was the hardest of the whole damn lot.

Mm, ’cause you had to take long steps, didn’t you?
It was hard on … yeah, your feet wore out.  We walk on the … these hills are not smooth – they’re rough as lead, and you walk up on the side of the hill, your feet are burning, you had blistered feet – oh, gee, that wasn’t much of a job – harrowing in the …  And I did most of that – four hundred acres I did at one place.

Did you?

I did the whole damn farm.  Harrowed the whole pl… oh, cripes, that wasn’t funny.

No.

[Chuckle]  If it hadn’t been for the reins I don’t know how the horses would put up with you pulling on their mouths all the time, but … you couldn’t pull hard, because that steered them, but it sort of balanced you.  Yeah – that was hard yakka.

And did you enjoy orcharding?

No, not very much.  Orcharding is – it’s a good job, but spraying in those days was like hell.

Did you have hoses or ..?

110ft of hose – and I was … gee, I was eight stone if I was lucky.  And I used to have to haul these blimmin’ things – forty-nine trees we’d do in a block.  It ends up that way – seven by seven by … forty-nine trees.  George and I, we did all the spraying – that was hard work, but we did it.

Yes – you had to.

Oh, I suppose so.  But then I worked for old Mac, and horse work was harder still. [Chuckle]  And I don’t know whether you knew old Alec McDonald did you?

Yes.

Oh, and did you know Bull & Hodgins?

Yes.

Yeah – you know Bull?

Yes. We all knew Bull.  Big grunty Bull.

We’d walk into Bull & Hodgins – I’d be with … I’d be the boy with him and we’d go into Bull & Hodgins and Bull’d come out.  Mac’d say “gidday Bull – where’s Hodgins?”  He wouldn’t talk to Bull.  And Bull just grunted, because he knew – oh, Mac was a hard man.

Yes.

I’ve seen Mac talking to some of these big Maoris – oh, gee … [chuckle]

So then you worked at home on the orchard, and at some stage … what age would you have been when you left the orchard?  Oh, you mentioned having a house built on the forty-two acres.

There was a … yeah, I was married then when we … see, I should remember the dates.  I was manpowered on the orchard – both George and I were manpowered on the orchard.  And then I – oh, that’s right, somewhere about ’42 dad bought a farm.  I think it was ’41 or somewhere round about there dad bought forty-two acres across the road.  And he had Alec McDonald with a team of horses.  And I took a liking to the horses somehow or another, so I got a job working for him.  It wasn’t full time, but whenever Mac wanted a hand I used to go and work the horses.  I did that for some years – it wasn’t very long, but … and then – is that what you want to know?

Yes, I do.  When did you meet your good wife?

Audree?  Oh, that was – I can’t remember the dates but sometime when she was … she was fairly young.  She was two years younger than me.  She came to work during the season – her and her mother, I think it was.  And – well, it just went from there, that would be ’40, ’41, ’39, ’41, ’42 …

And she was Charlie Wake’s daughter, wasn’t she?

No.  Charlie Wake?  No, no, no – she was Johanson.

Was she?

She was – yeah.  She came from Pakipaki.  Her father was Johanson, he was a real Scandi.  Her mother was a Miss Rosser.  She was one of the Claude Rosser family you see.

Well isn’t that amazing?  I thought Audree was a Wake – and she was a Johanson.

She was a Johanson.  She had a sister.

Did she have a brother too?

No, I think he died … young, I don’t remember …

Okay.  And so you met her at the orchard?

Oh, she and her mother came to – they milked cows – they had forty-odd cows in Pakipaki.   And her mother … she was a pretty good sort, but she was a hard-working lady and I think they came to work at the orchard to give Audree a spell away from the cows.  ‘Cause they came to work and were picking apples, and that’s when I first met Audree.

Ah.

And consequently things changed around her, but they used to come to work at the orchard, and then when I got to know her and when there was no apples I went and stayed at their place and helped them milk cows.  [Chuckle]

Fell out of the frying pan into the fire.

Yeah, well I learnt to milk cows anyway, and then of course we got a farm of our own.  And that was because I learnt to milk cows, and the Rosser family and Claude Rosser.

So Claude Rosser …

He was Audree’s mother’s brother.

So you’re related to the Speers then?

Oh, the Speers – well they were related to the Rossers.

And the Yules …

But the Speers – Claude Rosser never had much time for the Speers I don’t think.  But he married one.  [Chuckle]

I know he did, yes.

And Claude was a … oh, he was a tough … but you know, I got along with him, and – yeah.  So I learnt to milk cows.  And dad came over from Hawera to get away from cows.  [Chuckle]  Oh, you’re going back a bit now.

So you milked the cows, and was there enough on the dairy farm to keep you going all the time?

When we bought the farm there was, although I went contracting quite a bit.  I was a tractor driver – that was better than horses.  I worked horses for old Mac and …

So what sort of a tractor did you have those days?

Well, I bought the first Farmall 178 in Hawke’s Bay.  That was the biggest Ferguson tractor.

Was that the first tractor you bought?  No – you must have had something before the 178.

You know, I can’t remember.  But the 178 was … yeah, it was the biggest wheeled tractor in Hawke’s Bay there for quite a while.

Mmm, I know.

Did you know that?

I remember talking to Noel Kitching – you know, Noel had those Massey Harrises.

He was quite – he came round quite good to the 178 actually.  I wasn’t working for him when he bought that though, was I?

No.

I went on my own, did I?

That’s right – you were on your own.

And when Noel saw what they could do with a 178 he changed his mind too, I think.

I know he did.

He ended up with Fergusons too.

I had a couple – I had a 178 and a 175.

You did?

Mmm.

Gee, I can’t remember that.  I remember I got the first one, the big one.  I was the first one to have that, and people used to say – oh, someone, I don’t know who it was, said “what the hell would Lloyd Curtis want a blinkin’ big tractor like that for?”  But – yeah, it was in demand when I got it.

Oh, yes, absolutely.

It was just that much bigger than the Fordsons.

It was – it was bigger than the Power Major. 

And that upset quite a lot of people when the 178 came out.

Yes.  So what were you growing?  You kept the cows on – when did you stop milking the cows?

Oh gee – when did I start milking them?

When did you stop milking them?  It must have been about the time that you bought the big tractor.

Yeah, I think it was …

Because you started growing crops for Wattie’s then.

Oh, I grew crops for Wattie’s, yeah.  I remember doing all these things but I can’t remember just how … or which way they went.  I know I was one of the first ones growing tomatoes and that in …

In the boxes?

Oh, yeah I think I was in a big way … yeah, I think I was one of the first to grow tomatoes with a big tractor somehow or other.   That’s back when we bought the farm.   When was that – d’you remember that?

No, no, no.  So you grew beans?

Yeah, I did.  I did quite a lot of beans because I converted the 17 … the 35.  I was the only one – I think I was the only one that had … growing beans, it was …   I think I was the one to have a front cultivator and one on the back.   The one in the front was a light one that – I used to do two rows, and I could set them pretty close.  That was a pretty good machine really – it worked pretty good.

Did you grow for Wattie’s or Bird’s Eye? 

Oh, Wattie’s … a bit of both I think.

Yes – ‘cause Roy Anderson had his own bean harvester, didn’t he?

Well it was about Roy Anderson’s time – Roy Anderson was a much more careful bloke than me.

He was a perfectionist.

[Chuckle]  I come in with the front – I think it was about then that I … I sort of invented the cultivators at the front and the cultivators at the back.  And the front ones – you had to set them, and you could set them to do two rows of beans, and I could set them oh, pretty close.  And I think that was about the time when he noticed.  He’d been trying to work, you know … and I think that changed his mind a bit.

Because you remember Noel Kitching was a perfectionist too.

Oh, Noel was a … was a damned old woman, he was [chuckle] …  But, I tell you what – he had the … Massey, was it?

Massey Harrises.

Yeah.  And I bought the 178 – yeah, and I put the cultivators on the front and I could sit there and I could drive down a row beauty.

Yes.

And [chuckle] hey, it wasn’t long before he was doing the same thing.  Well, it made sense anyway.

They were good times though, you know …

Oh, yeah, because gee whizz – I did a heck of a lot of cultivation with beans and stuff.

‘Cause he – Noel took so long to do anything, didn’t he?

Oh, he was like an old woman, that’s exactly right, and he said I was like a bull at a gate.  [Chuckle]  I omitted half the stuff he did, and he perfected it.

Well, I bought a Farmall Super C with mid-mounted cultivators on it to do beans and maize.

It didn’t have one on the front.

No, it had … it was under the belly of it – and rear ones.

Oh, yes well – I think I was the first one to have the cultivator on the front.

Yes, you were.  Anyway, I went down to Noel and he said to me “oh” he said, “we can fit these up a better way”.  Well it took weeks and weeks and weeks to do everything.  Oh, he was such a generous … generous man – he would give you anything.

But he was a perfectionist though.  I’d say to him “that’s it – that’s good enough Noel, that’s good enough, we’ll do it like that.”  He’d say “no, it’s not.  You can’t do it like that, you …”  Oh, gee – he was an old woman as far as that …

But he was a good ploughman, and a good cultivator.

Oh, well – he was.

And the rows had to be straight.

Oh, yeah – he used to go crook about it.  Walk into the paddock and Noel would walk in and … “oh, here comes Noel”.  “Oh, bugger”.  [Chuckle]

I used to go and do some ploughing for him in the springtime.  He always got me in when the ground was getting so hard the plough wouldn’t go in – the plough kept jumping out and … oh, you couldn’t keep the damn thing straight. 

So, at some stage or other then you must have thought to yourself:  “I’ve had enough of this cropping – I’m going to plant some orchard – I’m going to plant some Golden Queens.”

Yeah, well I had the land to do that didn’t I?

Yes.   So how many acres … you still had the same acreage?

Forty-two acres I had.

Yes.  So how much of that did you plant in peaches – half of it or ..?

Ten acres in Paddock 1.

Yes.

I didn’t take much notice of what other people did.  If I thought it was different I used to do it different.  And Noel Kitching, he was always a bit upset about what I did because I was like a bull at a gate he reckoned.  But – remember Noel, he was a blinkin’ old woman at times.

So you had ten acres of the orchard … was planted in Golden Queens – you never planted apples, did you?

Yeah, I don’t know – I planted Golden Queens, yeah – I had the biggest lot of Golden Queens I think.  About ten acres.  Did I plant all that in orchard, that place?

I think you carried on cropping for a while though, didn’t you?  You had …

That’s all in orchard now isn’t it?

Yes.

I go past now and again.  Oh, gee – I forget.  But I was pretty well-known with the big tractor and peaches.

And so you carried on then with the peaches – can you remember how many tons you used to take off the place?

Oh, gee, no.

‘Cause a block that size you would have taken three hundred and fifty / four hundred tons.

Yeah, I suppose it wasn’t that much but it was …

And then did you still carry on growing any tomatoes?

Oh, yeah, I think I did – I think I …

‘Cause you had some bare land still.

Oh, yeah, well it wasn’t all in orchard when I had it.  But I was the first round that area, from … oh, I did a lot of work for Hardy Brothers.  I did most … well I ended up doing all their blinkin’ ploughing and stuff.  Their stuff was all obsolete, it was all semi-horse stuff.  And I bought the 178 – that was the first big tractor that was in the district.   Yeah, I did a lot of work with that blimmin’ thing.

It was interesting in that road of yours – a lot of the families never changed.

Then I come along.

Then you came along. The Sages were new people … George Sage – remember George?

Yeah.  But they didn’t have much to do with ploughs or anything.

No, they just had asparagus.

Yeah, well they come along afterwards.  I was with Hardy Brothers.  Oh, yeah – I converted them into a heck of a lot of tractor work.  I didn’t try to be but that’s what happened.

And then Jack McKeown bought it didn’t he?  Jack McKeown bought the Hardy block?

Oh, Jack, well he was pretty strict with what he did.

He was too.

Hardy Brothers were too, you see, but I’d go in like a bull at a gate.  [Chuckle]  When they were ploughing, Hardy Brothers – oh gee, they set it out.  And I’d come in the paddock and step across there and put a stick in and that, and then – brrrrr …  [Chuckle]  And Don would say to me “you didn’t measure that”, and I’d say “yes I did”.   He said “you didn’t”.  “Well, I measured it.”   [Chuckle]

‘Course you did.

Yeah, and I remember – then he said “but how did you just strike out?”  And I said “put a peg in”.  And he said “but you” … oh, hell, it was like carpenters when they did their job.  And I’d just hop on the tractor and go bzzzt … and – now!  But they got converted too.  Well, fancy doing – well yeah, oh gee – they were fussy.  People have said to me “how do you work for Hardy Brothers?”

I’d say “oh – oh, good … all right, yeah”.

Well I used to spray all Jack McKeown’s crops – his asparagus and peas and different stuff.

You did?

Yes, and Elaine would come out – his wife – and say “what’ve you got Frank Cooper here spraying your crops – why’ve you got him here?  You’ve got all that gear in the shed – why aren’t you out there doing it yourself?”  And she’d come and tear a strip off him, but every year he’d ring me up and say “come and do it”.  ‘Cause my gear was better than his anyway.

Gosh, they were the years weren’t they?

They were – absolutely.   And – remember when the chap right opposite you – bought the big house …

McKeown?

No.  The orchard – straight across the road from you.

Oh, he wasn’t a farmer at all.

Little short chap, he was an orchardist.  He planted that whole fifty acres of orchard – apples.

No, twenty acres it was, wasn’t it?

Was it twenty?  What was his name?  Can you remember his name?

Oh, who was before that – it was a lady.

Yes, it was a lady.  No, it doesn’t matter.  So you carried on with the peaches.  Did you sell that block before the peaches had finished?  Or did you pull the peaches out?

Can’t remember.  Oh, I was pretty headstrong I think, and I did a lot of new stuff there.

Yes, I know.

I used to plough without even getting off the tractor half the time.  Hardy Brothers – they were that fussy, you know.   They made a good job but oh, gee what a … but they got converted a bit.

And so at some stage or other then you became very interested in the Car Club?

Oh, I think I was always interested in that.  Yeah.

Fast cars and fast women.

Oh, I don’t know about the women.  [Chuckle]  Audree, she was – she’d look after that.  Remember Audree?

I do.  I knew her very well through the National Party, ‘cause I was the big chief and she was one of my workers.

Yeah, well she took over there – well, they came to me … well, it might have been you.

No, it wasn’t me, no, no.

They came to me and wanted me to do things – oh no, I’m no good at making speeches, oh no.  But Audree, she didn’t … she wasn’t very good at it I don’t think, but …

She didn’t mind though.

But she wasn’t scared like me.

No.  But you spent a long time at the Car Club though, didn’t you?

Oh, yeah, yeah – well I think I just about built the blimmin’ Car Club.  I got that bit of land from my brother-in-law – I did a heck of a lot for them.

And it’s still there today – still going strong, isn’t it?

Oh, I think so – far as I know.  Yeah, I bought the land, and then I was in charge of the building, and oh … Audree and I just about ran the blimmin’ Car Club.

And then of course Audree passed away – that was another change in your life, wasn’t it?

Oh, that was another … yeah – can’t remember that much either.  Gee, things are slipping all the time.

Well, there’s no Curtises orcharding now are there, in Longlands?

Don’t think so.

Bruce – he was the last one … George died some years ago, didn’t he?

Yeah.  Yeah – we’ve sort of passed on, eh?

That’s right.

I’m about the only one left.

Yes, you are.

I’m not going to die yet either.

No.  And then of course you remarried.

How many times did I remarry?

Just once – that’s enough.

Three times, wasn’t it?

Was it?

Holy mackerel – I’ve forgotten!

Well – was she an American lady?   The one I … there was one … was she American?

[Sigh] Christchurch – I can’t even remember my wives!

You had three?  My God – Lloyd!

Audree …

Audree, yes – we all knew Audree very well – she was a lovely lady.

She was the strongest of the lot, yeah.

Well she was a farmer’s daughter, wasn’t she?

Oh, yeah – her father, Claude Rosser – no, not her father – no, Claude Rosser, he was her uncle.  And she had a very, very strong mother.  Rossers were very, very strong … strong personalities, and – but I got along with her mother, and Claude – yeah, I got along with them very well.   I can remember Claude – he was very, you know – get things done … get it done, you know?  Anyway, I went and did some ploughing for him, and he said “it’s gotta strike out”.  And I said “I’ve done it”.  “Jesus Christ!” he said.  [Chuckle]  He couldn’t get over that I hardly ever got off the tractor. [Chuckle]

‘Cause they used walk all the time behind … they used to walk all the time when they were doing …

Oh, yeah, well I did a bit of that too – I … walking behind a team of horses wasn’t funny after a bit.

Oh, well – if you can’t remember all these other wives then … isn’t that funny, how you’d forget them?

I’ve done too much to remember, do you think?

Could be.

[Chuckle]  Oh, gee.  Oh, yeah, well I was the first to do this sort of … I could plough a paddock without getting off the tractor or the mower – anything.   Some of them, they couldn’t make out how I’d mark the paddock out, but …

When I was ploughing I’d just walk across – wouldn’t have a tape or anything, I’d just walk across, put a peg in …

Yeah well, that was my way of doing it too.

By the time the others had marked out I think my paddock was half done.

Yeah, well, the thing was, with a mounted plough – it altered things absolutely.   I was brought up with old Mac, with horses, and you had to be pretty correct.

And of course later on Lloyd, we used to plough round and round.   Plough in once, and next time plough out.

Well, that was supposed to be not a good way to plough either, was it?

No. It didn’t matter in the end.

Well it didn’t matter with tractors anyway.

No.  ‘Cause mounted ploughs you could do it – they couldn’t do it with the old ones.

Yeah, I think I was one of the first to have mounted that on the 178, and that was the biggest tractor that came with the …

Yes, I know.

Oh, those were the days, yeah.

All right, well – and here you are today, you’re retired, in this lovely …

Doing nothing.

… just looking out the window, watching the world go by, but – thank you Lloyd, anyway, for allowing me to put this on tape.

Shivers – how much are you gonna put on tape?

All of it.  Have you got any photos at all?

Oh, blimey Charlie!

You don’t need to get them today, I’ll give you a fortnight.

Haven’t got any photographs.

None?

Don’t think … have I?

You must have some of your weddings and …

Of what?

Of your wives, and weddings, and the orchard – the 178 – you must have photographs of that?

Where would I have them?

You don’t need to look now.

Are you writing a history about this?

Yes, this is the history.

Perhaps I should remember anything else.

So anyway, I think that’s probably … we’ve got a picture of the life and times of your family.

Thank you.

Original digital file

CurtisCL1383_Final_Feb17.ogg

Additional information

Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

Accession number

1383/38818

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