– I think that happened when I was at school. But you’re forgetting the accommodation house. The accommodation house had been for travellers on the coach from Napier to Puketitiri, which took about three days. There was an accommodation house at Rissington, and there was one at Patoka, and God knows what there was at Puketitiri. Eventually there was a pub which I suppose started out as an accommodation house. The one at Patoka was on our property, but at the stage that I remember it, it was no longer used as an accommodation house. I don’t know who ran it – there was a kitchen, so there must have been people, probably employed by the motor company – coaching company. There was no motor company then.
T – Probably it was there before grandad bought the place. At one stage there were ﬁve sawmills at Puketitiri – a lot of timber coming down, a lot of coming and going.
– That’s what the accommodation houses were designed for – the sawmillers being taken up and down to the mills. But after that we were able to house our workers
T – And the shearers’ quarters. The original shearers’ quarters were down by the woolshed – built in 1896, or thereabouts. Sixteen stand shed originally, two eights, blades, and they converted that in 1897 to machines and they shore for two or three years on sixteen, but after it was ??? they went back to one side – eight… Arthur Ward lived in the accomodation [accommodation] house – had a room there.
– And so did the cowman-gardener. Yes, we only had one shepherd – about one sheep to ﬁve acres, wasn’t it?
T – Probably ten!
– There was an awful lot of scrub on the property. It was slowly cleared by gangs of Indian scrub-cutters, I remember used to come. And they also used to room there (?) I don’t know when they would have started. I remember them in the early ‘30s – well, before I went to boarding school. Probably in the worst of the depression they couldn’t afford to cut the scrub, so it would be in the ‘30s.
T – Old Jack Campbell was ploughing with his horses in the ‘2Os, wasn’t he.
– Yes, but we didn’t get the tractor till about 1930.
T – I think the ﬁrst one was ‘28 or ‘9, 1929.
– It was as early as that, was it. Because I remember the hay being carted on big drays, by the cart-horses. Me sitting on top of the pile.
T – I remember that old dray. . .. haystacks. . .?
– Well if you remember that, the horses must have gone on into the ‘30s.
T – Unless it had already been converted with a drawbar for the tractor. I don’t remember the horses. But Jack Campbell’s stories – he went to town, perhaps twice a year, and the cook had a couple of kids so he came back with a couple of bags of sweets, and he said ‘These are for the kiddies. Don’t tell them where they came from, because next time they might be disappointed.’ Just the epitome of the Scotsman!
– So you had a married cook – no trouble with single cooks – no cook stories?
T – Oh yes. The one fellow who got a snitcher on the cooks and he grabbed two or three handsful of arsenic, for when the dip was made – we made our own dip. You have a barrel of arsenic, and he put so much in the stew that everybody was sick and it didn’t kill anybody. I think he was quite disappointed. He thought he’d get his own back and the cook would get sacked. And of course he didn’t eat any!
– If there were children, there must have been a married cook. They did come and go – and she may not have had a husband. I was just trying to think who did have a husband, because Arthur Ward was a single shepherd. And Harry, Balharry?? what was his ﬁrst name? – Charlie Balharry. He also went to town twice a year, and that was the end of his salary, every time. He was sleeping it off one heavy night on his summer holiday in 1931. He woke up in the street. He’d gone to sleep in the pub, but wasn’t still there when he woke up.
H – And you went to town about twice a year too, and your mother was perfectly content, from England…
– As far as we could tell, she was, and she found a great deal of interest in… She was devoted to Father, devoted to her children. For our primary school years she educated us with correspondence, PNEU – Parents National Educational Union correspondence from England. She was put onto this business by Duncan McIntyre’s[MacIntyre’s] mother [Esther MacIntyre]. It was based on Rudolph Steiner, I think, and it was in the Lake District, where its headquarters was. So material came backwards and forwards by sea. I went to school when I was 12 – to Nga Tawa. It was a long way to go – I don’t know whether there was any difficulty about my going to Woodford. It was fairly soon after the earthquake – ’36, so the boarding accommodation may have been a