Whitlock Family – Wendy Doole

It’s Tuesday the fourteenth of October in the Hastings library. Wendy Doole is talking about the Whitlock family.

James Morgan: Now what we’ve got here is … and newspapers are a history in the making if they’re reporting now what’s happening, and in a month’s time you look back in them and see what happened; in thirty years you look back and there it is on the record. But, in this case, this fellow is James Wood, the founder of the Hawke’s Bay Herald, and that is front page of his first ever … the first ever … issue of a newspaper here in Hawke’s Bay. And that is the Herald part of a Herald-Tribune, which Wendy will tell you all about.

This fellow is Wendy’s grandfather and he did as much for the history of Hawke’s Bay and more so for the history of Hastings in the development of newspapering. And one, two, three, four people – if you read their work, if you look at their newspapers, if you look at their content, you will know that these people were passionate about recording history and bringing it to you.

Now I’m going to get you Wendy to tell you all about the Whitlocks. [Applause]

Wendy: Thank you, James. Thank you everybody. James Morgan was the Editor of the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune from 1985 to 1998, and then he was abruptly invited to take redundancy. And when I say abruptly – would you believe, two days?

I’ve been invited to talk about the Herald-Tribune and the Whitlock family. What an opportunity for an amateur genealogist, to talk about her family! What time do you folk have to be home for breakfast? [Laughter]

Well, we’ll start with the family. William Charles Whitlock, at the end there, [shows slides and photographs] first edited – I’m going to read it to start with, ‘cause I’m a bit nervous.

William Charles Whitlock who edited and developed the Tribune was my grandfather, and he had some limited knowledge about his forebears. There was an illustrious Whitlock in the seventeenth century who was an astute lawyer, a parliamentarian, a diarist, a prolific letter writer, one time master of the Royal Rebels, adviser both to King Charles the First and to Cromwell (?). Keeper of the Royal Seal, and Ambassador to Sweden. And grandfather was so proud of this ancestor, but I discovered that although Bulstrode had three wives and sixteen children, he has no living relations today. You may take a bit of a breath at … a gasp at the sort of … the name Bulstrode, but in 1605 when he was christened, his uncle Jerome, was the godfather, and he was asked to name this child. And he said “Bulstrode”. And the minister stood a step back and said, “you might like to reconsider that”, [laughter] and Jerome said, “well he’s going to be called after his mother … Elizabeth or Bulstrode – take your pick.” [Chuckles] And there’ve been Bulstrode Whitlocks through the family – my grandfather wanted Tony to be called Bulstrode, and my mother said, “oh no – he’s being called William after his father – and of course, after you.” And then the second son came and was called after my mother’s father. And so the third child had to be Bulstrode. My mother said “she’s a girl, and we’re calling her Wendy”. [Laughter]

But thanks to Bulstrode and his biographer, I was able to identify our family from the family tree there, and I found out that our great grandfather to the ninth greats, was a cousin of Bulstrode. And what would have chuffed grandfather was that when the line goes back to John Whitlock, who in 1453 married an Agnes de la Beche – if we go over to her line, to the [?Distoff?] side and go back to 1142, there is a ‘Rogerum de la Beche, 1142, factũ sine dat’, which means ‘was here – he was here’.

But dedication to the newspapers didn’t start with my grandfather. I must tell you – when my brother Tony was staying with Grandfather once, working in the shed together, he said “Grandfather, where do the wheels go?” “Grandfather, what shall we do next?” “Grandfather, when’s morning tea?” Grandfather said “oh, for goodness sake, stop calling me Grandfather this and Grandfather that – take the G and the F and call me GF.” So he was often known as GF. My father was known as WA often, but you couldn’t call William Charles by his initials. He was known by us as GF.

But love of newspapers didn’t start with Grandfather, it started with his mother-in-law, this woman here – Marie Elizabeth Cruse. She was born in 1834 in Frome in Somerset, in England. Her father was a teacher of pianoforté, organ, singing and the principles of harmony, and I think they were a bit sort of funny. She had a younger sister who was reputed to be a child prodigy – she certainly played for royalty. Their mother was a French woman, and I think she was a woman of some spirit. Marie went to finishing school in France and when she came back to England she fell in love with a doctor but the family wouldn’t let her marry him, and he went off to Australia. But Marie – we suspect she had a lot of her mother’s enterprise. She quickly arranged to follow him to Australia … must’ve taken a lot of courage for a woman on her own in those days to go out to the colonies. But when she got there, she found he had married someone else. She must’ve been devastated. And of course she was destitute, but she got herself a job as a governess with a wealthy Melbourne family. She was well educated, she’d gone to finishing school, she’s played the piano and she sang beautifully. In those days a governess was expected to play the piano at soirées and concerts, and accompany singers, but she was definitely not allowed to mingle with the guests. And one of the honoured guests was a member of the Royal Academy of Music, Albert Alexander. And Marie Cruse began to find little notes among the ivories, and the little notes developed into ‘billet-doux’, [love letters] and, they fell in love and in 1868 they married, and went to Tasmania.

Albert was the eleventh of fourteen children who’d come out to New Zealand from Norfolk with his parents and his younger siblings. But after a while he went to Melbourne and there he became Professor of Music at the Melbourne University. Albert and Marie settled in Launceston, and then first a daughter in 1869, Mary Saul, was born, and then a son, Reginald Horatio, in 1876.

That very year, quite unexpectedly Albert died. He was only thirty-eight. They’d been married for eight years. The inquest found that his death, in accordance with medical testimony, was in a natural way by a visitation of God. His tombstone says, “His sun” – spelt s-u-n – “His sun was gone down while it was yet day”.

Marie packed up and with the children went over to Auckland. I think she expected some support from the Alexander family who were living there, but that was not forthcoming. They actually believed that she had enticed him, and again, she was destitute … and devastated of course, with the death of her husband. But she took up a teaching position, and she saw that her little family, Mary and Reg, were well educated. Years later Mary became headmistress of Auckland Diocesan School. Marie is known to have taught at Wainui – at which one I don’t know, but also at Taradale, and that one I do know. We’ve got a little certificate, a little card that says – in 1884 Reg received this certificate – it says ‘from the Hawke’s Bay Education District, Taradale Infant School, Reginald Alexander, age 9, 65 points for sewing a duster’.

There’s also an undated newspaper cutting reporting “a pleasant entertainment at Taradale, which was held in order to raise money for prizes for the school”. And it says “Miss Alexander showed considerable ability as an actress, and the evening concluded with a play by the male and female children of the school”. And they gave proof of successful training, and I like to think it might have been Marie who gave that training.

The family eventually went to the Buller district and there they met William Charles Whitlock. GF had been born in 1865 in Mecklenburgh Square, just around the corner from Gray’s Inn. His father had been born in Nottingham – he was a lawyer. A few doors away from their house, which was a row … long row of houses, you know how they are, all the same, and it must’ve been quite elegant at one time … but Charles Dickens had lived – not at the same time as the Whitlocks lived there. But I could go to the house and see the house, and think ‘oh, this was the sort of house my grandfather grew up in’.

Grandfather had an older brother and a younger sister. When he was eight years old his mother died, and the Inquest reads, ‘Death from rupture of a pregnant uterus and haemorrhage into the abdomen – six hours’.

His father doesn’t seem to have had a birth certificate, and I couldn’t find evidence of his second marriage, but he did remarry, and Grandfather is supposed to have come to New Zealand because of stepmother problems. He came prospecting for gold – he was twenty-two, and he arrived in Nelson and then went on to the Buller district. He took up a thing called Miner’s Rights – that entitled him to mine for gold, to have a certain amount of land, and to vote in the county elections – all that for ten shillings a year, and it was later reduced to five shillings. And so a man could have a bit of land … a site for his hut, a bit of land for a vegetable garden … and he could clear the land and supplement his income by still digging for gold or working on the gold dredge.

The land was … the ground was covered heavily with bush, and the tracks were very uneven, and it must’ve been very difficult – it was hard getting the great stumps out of the ground. They had to lever them out and then burn them. And the book that I’ve got here, ‘Difficult Country’ – I’ve got a photocopy of some of it – says that they grew turnips in the ash, which was a good fertiliser. It seemed strange to grow turnips in the ground, or else they just had cattle, and they ate the grass between the stumps. The river flooded a lot, it would gouge out bits of land, bits of valuable land from the farms, or it would wash the gold dredge down the river and they would have to pick it up and bring it back over the boulders and reset it. The whole of the Buller district as it was called … Central Buller … was known as the poor man’s goldfield. There was enough gold for a man to make a living with the minimum of equipment, but the tracks were bad, the climate was cold and wet, and the mosquitos and sandflies were unbearable.

Grandfather took up some land at Fern Flat, which is just opposite where Murchison is today. How and why and where grandfather met the little Alexander family I don’t know, but he fell in love with Marie’s daughter, Mary Saul, and they were married in 1890 in the schoolhouse at the other end of the four mile straight. Marie was sole teacher in the school. She must’ve been a tremendous influence in the district – she was school teacher, music mistress, she sold musical instruments, she ran the local store, she wrote children’s stories, and in 1896 she started the Buller Post. She wrote the editorials, reported the news, sorted the advertisements, as well as setting the type. It came out every Thursday, and it was delivered by her son Reg, on his bicycle. And he had agency for the first safety bicycles in the district.

Of course a woman wasn’t recognised as being a person of any importance in those days, so the paper, at the bottom, says it was ‘Printed and Published by RH Alexander, at the Buller Post Registered Office, Fern Flat’, which was probably a room in their house. In the paper Marie discussed not only local events, but also international events. And about [?] there was a pension scheme suggested, and she pointed out that “it might deprive people of being thrifty, if they thought they might get a pension”. And also, “the taxpayer would be loaded with paying this five shillings to the pensioners”. And many gold diggers there bought land, but a lot of the land was reserved for the Midland Railway, and she tackles that. One of the Buller Post editorials complained that the land was being locked up … “Everyone knows the land – the railway would never come through the Buller Gorge at all, or even if it should it’ll be many a long year before it does. Therefore we suffer a great injustice by the locking up of the land.”

It’s difficult to realise what life must have been like there. The isolation, lack of medical help, and the sheer hard work. This book ‘Difficult Country’ – I got copies of it from the Murchison Library, or Nelson Library, I think – and it recounts how one mother blindfolded her child while she stitched up the top of the little one’s finger with needle and thread from her work basket. Expectant mothers of course had to travel away to have their babies – my father was born in Nelson, a hundred and twenty-nine kilometres away. There’s a poignant little note among our family treasures from my grandfather to his mother-in-law, apologising for speaking roughly to her, but he was missing Tottie. That was his wife Mary who was often called Tottie. She died just before I was born, but Tony remembers Tottie. She was always known as ‘Little Granny’.

A Church minister would come round and baptise the children every … oh, three or four or five years, and it was potluck whether you were done by a Roman Catholic, or an Anglican, or a Baptist or a Methodist. And my aunt Marie was never christened, ’cause my father told me they stuck a sword into her, and she ran away into the bush and she didn’t come back ‘til it was all over.

But there were lots of pleasurable entertainment as well. There was sports meetings, and concerts, and balls, and Church, and there was an interdenominational children’s Church, and it had a tremendous lot of activities.

In the paper there were reports of concerts featuring ‘gramophone selections bringing some of the greatest music of the world to those starved for culture’.

After a little time Marie had to give up some of her interests because of ill health … don’t worry, she lived until she was ninety-three … and the printing of the paper was moved to Murchison. In 1897 there’s a report of a farewell to Marie before her departure for Murchison. On Wednesday the sixth … this was reported in the paper … ‘On Wednesday the sixth inst, a pic-nic’ (spelt p-i-c hyphen n-i-c, which my computer didn’t like at all) … ‘was held at Fern Flat in order that friends and late pupils of Mrs Alexander might have the opportunity of meeting her once again before her departure for Murchison’. And then it goes on about all the things that they had, the preparations that they made and the food that they ate … ‘tea was served alfresco by the young lady managers, and everyone regaled with cakes of many descriptions, tarts and shortbreads of the very best’. There were lots of comestibles – I looked that up in the dictionary – that’s ‘things to eat’. And in the evening they had a dance in the schoolroom, ‘which had been very prettily decorated, and they spent an enjoyable evening dispersing about [until] twelve o’clock’. For goodness sake, she was only going to live over the other side of the river! But wait – there’s more! ‘On Saturday last a farewell soirée was given by the residents of Fern Flat for Mrs Alexander on the eve of her departure for Murchison. The schoolroom was decorated with flowers and ferns, and there was a special chair for her which was later presented to her as a memento. And a speech was made, and she said she didn’t need a memento to remember them ‘cause she would never forget them later – “Oh no, we would never forget you!” And it’s wonderful … wonderful reading. And this of course is interesting because it was going on in every other little community in New Zealand probably – the same sort of thing.

‘The Misses Hunkeys presented Mrs Alexander with a chair cushion that they had made themselves. The girls of the school sang a pretty song, which had been taught to them by Miss Clark and Miss Hunter, and after being served with cake, filed past their old teacher, each saying “goodbye – I’m sorry you’re going away”. And the paper says … probably written by Marie … ‘We cannot of course vouch for the depth of sorrow but still, the expression was graceful and pleasing. And for the most part true.’ Reginald made a speech. ‘The room was cleared for dancing. A great many were present and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Dancing was kept up with great spirit until midnight, ending with an animated Highland Schottische’. I don’t know if Schottishe is the right way to say it. ‘Coffee and supper followed, which judging from the vigorous dancing, must have been really needed’. Well they certainly weren’t couch potatoes, were they?

When my brother was over here in the 1960s he went down with his son Anthony, who’s now known as Tony, exploring the Murchison district, and he wanted to know if he could find the old press that the paper had been printed on. And he found it in a house in Murchison. And they had disposed of it by cutting around the floorboards of the press and letting it drop onto the ground below and then putting the floor back again. And the owner of the house let him scramble underneath and have a look at it, and the young son of the house had taken the brass plate with the name of it – The Improved Albion Press – and he was quite happy to sell it to Tony, and so Tony was very thrilled to go back to Australia with this little bit of family history.

Sometime later the Buller Post was sold to Mr MacNamara and the family moved to Stratford, where incidentally their last child was born, John Lawson. And I must show you – here is Bulstrode. John Lawson’s child was called, Marcus … I’ve forgotten. Oh, isn’t it terrible – I’ve forgotten his proper name – Marcus Somebody Lawson Whitlock. And his father, my uncle Jack, looked in the cot and said, “he looks just like a toby jug”. [Laughter] So, he’s retired as Medical Superintendent of Greenlane Hospital some few years ago, but he was always known as Toby. Marcus Ralph … Ralph Marcus Lawson Whitlock. But, take away the beard, take away the hair … Toby. And he has three lovely sons and they all look like Bulstrode too.

There’s no doubt about the harsh conditions in the Buller. It was an influence in inducing the family to move away. I can imagine Grandfather [chuckle] willingly gave up clearing the bush, and trying to run a farm, and dredging for gold. So, in 1902, William Charles, his wife, Mary … Tottie … his mother-in-law Marie, and his three children … Billy, my father, my aunts Marie and Regina, known as Birdy … moved north to Stratford, and GF began his newspaper career. With a partner Arthur Carncross, they acquired the Egmont Settler, and then when two Stratford papers were merged, Grandfather became editor and manager of the Stratford Evening Post.

But in May 1907, the family settled in Hastings, living in one stage in Willowpark Road. And you said they lived somewhere else?

James: Miller Street. [Whispers]

Miller Street. That might’ve been my parents, ‘cause they lived here too. But [I] saw somewhere they lived in Willowpark Road.

[Inaudible comment from James]

Oh! Sold to the Newbigins probably. [Chuckle] I know they lived at a place called Green Gables somewhere over there.

Hastings and Hawke’s Bay were growing rapidly and the town was surrounded by a large wealthy … family communities. And Grandfather soon realised that more capital was needed. And William Nelson, who had established Tomoana Freezing Works and the meat works, and the freezing exports to England, was behind the financial security of the paper. He enlisted the sheep farming brothers, John and Mason Chambers, and H.M. Campbell from out at Horonui was one of the early investors, and Reginald Gardner was also an early … invested in the papers … put money in the paper. And he became the secretary, and Grandfather was made editor and managing director.

And how the Tribune developed from the Standard is well explained in this book, ‘First Impressions’ by Laraine Knight … gives a very good account of the history of the merging of the Standard becoming the Tribune. She wrote – actually I don’t know if it was her, but somebody else wrote, that – I’ll find it later in a few minutes. The private company was formed, and – oh, it was William Nelson who suggested that the Tribune be the name given to the new paper. They wanted a clean and honest newspaper for the people of Hawke’s Bay.

The leading article written by my grandfather on the twelfth of December 1910 announced the name and stated: “It stands for the broad general principles, and is not tied to any political party. It’s columns are to be a medium for free discussion of subjects of local and general interest, and they’re open to all, so long as there is anything to be said worth saying. To be on the side of right, whatever the immediate consequences may be. As the Tribunes of ancient Rome where appointed to see justice was done, so it will be our endeavour to secure equal treatment for all.”

The Standard had strongly advocated the development of Ahuriri and the Inner Harbour for the shipping, whereas the Napier Telegraph supported the outer harbour, out near the Bluff … building wharves out there. There was tremendous rivalry between the cities – I believe it’s still going – isn’t it awful?

I’ve lived both in Napier and Hastings, and grew up in Hastings of course. Hastings seemed to consider itself the business centre of the province, with its large hinterland of wealthy farmland, its growing agricultural industry, its supply of fruit and vegetables for export and for local market. They tended to think of Napier – is there anyone from Napier here? [Laughter] They tended to think of Napier as merely being the port for exporting goods.

And then came the earthquake in 1931. My father, Bill Whitlock, was Chief of Staff at the Dominion. He in the meantime had married my mother, Beryl Gillean, and he had gone off to the First World War, and on return came to Hastings. I often think he didn’t ever really bond with Tony … Tony was born while he was in France. Both my brothers were born in Hastings, and later Dad left Hastings and went down to Christchurch, where I was born.

But he saw the writing on the wall when he was with the Sun, and he left six months before the Sun newspaper folded, and went up to Auckland. And then he went down to Wellington on the Dominion for more experience. And he was on the Dominion, Chief of Staff, when the earthquake happened, and he knew somebody … found somebody with a Tiger Moth, and he immediately flew up.

Much of the Tribune offices and plant were damaged in the quake. There was a big edifice over the top corner on the corner of Karamu and Queen Street … across, on the corner … the big edifice saying ‘Tribune’, and as the earthquake came it swayed and the weight of it made it fall down on the footpath below, and took part of the second story of the building down. Grandfather could see that the lower part was perfectly all right, and when the men from the ‘Diamond’ or the ‘Veronica’ came with explosives to blow up the building because it was considered dangerous, he said “I have a paper to get [out] – I am staying”. They argued with their explosives in their hands and Grandfather stayed. And he stayed for four or five days and nights. Of course, some of the staff must’ve stayed with him too, and my father probably stayed too. But grandfather was the one who started the sit-in. He realised of course that that was the only source of news. The telephones were down – there weren’t any cellphones, or television or radio in those days, were there? Later when the top storey was removed and it was roofed over, it became the one storey building that you can see now. I can remember my father having a bit of a grumble, because the Daily Telegraph was completely devastated by the earthquake and burnt by the fire, and they got quite good treatment in rebuilding that beautiful Art Deco building in Tennyson Street. Grandfather was left with the one storey brick building.

There is also a story that Grandfather never forgave God for the earthquake, because the floor of the inner harbour came up three feet. And there is a story that Trevor Geddes rang and said “what price the inner harbour now, Whitlock?” [Laughter]

The Herald was a morning paper in Napier, and it had a beautiful building .. amazing pseudo gothic building – two storeyed brick – very handsome looking building. It’s pictured in this one.. and it was … well it was absolutely ruined. And when things began to get sorted out, the Tribune offered to print the Herald’s paper – it was a morning paper. So the two papers were printed at the building on the corner of Queen and Karamu Road. And it continued as a separate publication until the 16th of January 1937. The population wasn’t really big enough to support two evening papers and a morning paper, and so my father amalgamated the Herald and the Tribune and that’s how the Herald-Tribune was born.

And I was out in Waimarama – it was a hot, hot Hawke’s Bay summer – and I was out at Waimarama with Doctor and Mrs Wright and their daughter Barbara, who’s a great friend of mine, and still is. She’s the author, Barbara Anderson, now. And we went down as usual to get the evening paper and there was the Herald-Tribune. I was literally horrified. I thought something terrible had happened, and I didn’t know what had happened. and Barb kept on saying “but it’s not twice as big! It’s not twice as big! It’s not twice as big!” And I said “shut up!” No, I wanted to say, “shut up!” But I knew that was terribly wicked, I didn’t ever say it. But I was terribly upset. And when I got home, my father did apologise for not telling me.

In 1934 GF retired and my father returned to Hawke’s Bay to take over as managing director and editor. I don’t know which of them had this guideline for the staff, but I think it’s rather good. ‘Find out the true facts, report them with fidelity, apply to them strict and fixed principles of justice, humanity, and law. Inform as far as possible the conscience of the people and call down the judgement of the world on what it false, base or tyrannical’. Mmm … wow!

And the staff of the Tribune under Grandfather’s guidance had developed into a loyal, hardworking, efficient team. There are many, many stories, and James can probably hunt them out and tell them to you someday – about the extra way they went, the hours they did, for love of and loyalty to the paper. My father, when he said his farewell to them, he called it ‘our paper’, and he didn’t mean ‘our, the Whitlock’ … paper, he meant ‘you, the staff’ … paper. Management had always kept friendly relation with the staff and it continued with my father. People always knew they could approach GF or my father to discuss things or to ask advice. They might have been roared at by my dad for not following up on a story or writing clumsy copy, or committing a grammatical blunder, or letting a typo pass, but in general he was approachable. On his retirement he was always very interested in the personal side of the people. He took an interest in their families. I can remember going down the passage and Dad was talking to someone in the washroom and he said, “and how’s the baby now? How old is it now?” And to someone else, “how’s your father enjoying the new job?” And there’s someone here tonight who remembers my father giving him five pounds when his first child was born. Someone here … right here tonight. And he was quite pleased about it.

Every year there was a Christmas party for all the staff, and a present for the children, and jellies and ice cream, and goodies, and a swept-up afternoon tea for the parents. People cared for each other in those days. Those parties were wonderful.

When the second storey of the Tribune building was removed there was a balcony left above the front door, and this was used on election night, because in the olden days people didn’t have any way of knowing the election result, so they used to gather in the street outside the Tribune office. And they had a big long sheet from the public trust building and would use a lantern slide and put the results of the candidates on there. And it was a … I can remember, wonderful nights, it was noisy, there were cheers and there was boos, all sorts of things. And there were no babysitters in those days, so I was allowed to stay up … up on the balcony. And I can remember one time there was one man there who hadn’t been returned, and nobody was crowding around him and congratulating him. And I was a little girl – I felt sorry for him, and I went and put my hand in his and he gave a little squeeze back. And I think his name was Mr Cullen, and I think he may well have been our Minister of Finance’s father. [Chuckles]

During the war the British government invited a group of New Zealand journalists to visit Britain and report on what conditions were like there. Father went, and when he was going he stopped off in New York. And I forgot to tell you in New York, when the Herald-Tribune was born Dad was very thrilled to get a letter of ‘Welcome to the Family’ from the New York Herald-Tribune. And he kept correspondence with the editor, and when my father was in New York on the way to Britain he, they met, and they treated him really royally and gave him a wonderful time in New York. And they called him the Governor of Hawke’s Bay. [Chuckles]

But anyway, Dad went to England to observe at the time of the Battle of Britain, and he was one of two who were sent out to Italy. And it was the time of the Cassino campaign, and he was lucky enough to be able to arrange to meet up with Tony, who was there. And another experience he had was being taken by General Kippenberger up on the hills to observe the battlefields, and Kip said to my father “walk right behind me, Bill, this place is loaded with landmines”. And the very next week General Kippenberger trod on a landmine, and lost the lower part of both legs. My father didn’t find this out until he came back to New Zealand, of course.

My father wrote an account of his trip. He called it ‘The Fifth Winter’, and of course in those days there was nothing but newsprint and cardboard for printing so it’s a very modest little publication. That was one of the problems in wartime – the paper … the newsprint … all came from Canada and you never knew when the next consignment would come. And I can remember my father being very worried and often he would say “I can’t make the paper any smaller, and I’ve only got enough paper for two more nights”. When I see the lavish papers now … makes me wince a little bit. Just as Grandfather was honour bound to produce the paper for the people at the earthquake time and at other times, so my father felt he had to get the paper out. His whole focus was getting the paper out each night. No paper was published on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Anzac Day, or Sundays of course. My father would generally get up around six thirty and he’d go and work in the garden for a little while, and have his breakfast, and he’d walk from 602 Tomoana Road to the office and be there by eight o’clock. He tried to get home in the evening in time to listen to the six o’clock news, and that was six days a week.

On the days that were free he would be hunting up news, or finding out what was on top for the local people – what was going on; what they were interested in; what people were doing. I can remember him saying to me one time, “come on Mrs Wigs – I believe the Esk River is flooding. Let’s go and have a look.” And I can remember to this day standing on the top Hill Road and looking out and seeing this great grey seem … this great grey plain … and this much of the fence post was showing above the silt, and it came right up to the windows … the window sills.

Whenever I was away my father sent me the paper – when I was in England or Australia, he would send the centre part of the paper with the editorials, the cable news, and the letters to the editor at other times. All my life I have read the paper through until the last decade or so … read the paper through from cover to cover every night before I went to sleep. Cause my father used to say: “Don’t ever forget – there is blood in those veins, and it’s blue blood. And it’s blue with printers’ ink.”

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