Law and Order

LAW
AND
ORDER

Photo caption –
WARKWORTH COURTHOUSE – CONSTABLE GEORGE ROBERTSON (PICTURED)

RODNEY COUNTY 1929 – 1949

A STORY OF A POLICEMAN AND FAMILY MEMORIES

Compiled by: Ewing Robertson – Havelock North
Printed by: Copy and Design – Havelock North
June 2013

WARKWORTH – 1929

The main centre of the Rodney County. A quiet little NZ country town comprising a dairy factory, sawmill, school, blacksmith, boat building, saddler, bakery, hotel and the usual country stores. The town had one doctor who provided the village and surrounding area with health care. There was no electric power, or town water or sewage. It is a very different town today. Goods transport in and out of Warkworth was provided in the main by coastal shipping (scows) traversing the Mahurangi River. Warkworth, an attractive village set on the banks of the Mahurangi, was to be home for the Robertson family for the next 20 years.

John recalls: –

“I have great memories of Warkworth. I will never forget the day we left Huntly to a place called Warkworth, away from all that smoke and coal dust, the green country of the North. Our few days to stop over at Waiwera (travel to Warkworth by car was out) I will never forget going to the beach digging a hole that would fill up with hot water.

Then the day of getting the car up onto the Waiwera wharf on ladders and planks and driving along the wharf and then watching the steam winch lift the car up then lower in to the hold of the steamer U.S.S. Omana. The Omana ran a weekly service to Warkworth and Matakana for general goods, and to take butter from the two dairy factories. She was a great little boat, when she arrived in Warkworth during the day, if the tide was right, everybody in town turned up. I remember the day we arrived. One of the boys there went home and told his parents the new policeman must be rich, you should see his car, and it has two push bikes tied on the back. That family later became good friends.

Photo caption – Warkworth and Mahurangi river. Note the scows unloading goods at the wharves.

PROFILE

George Ross Russel [Russell] Robertson

Born: 22nd December 1888
Carnwath, Lanarkshire.

Son of Thomas and Agnes Ross Robertson, Engineer and wife.

Educated in State & Local body education system.

Employment:
1905 – 1910    Brakesman
1910 – 1913   Glasgow Police Force
1913 – 1914   Travel to Australia & New Zealand.
1914 – 1949   N. Z. Police Force.

George was a quiet man with a very good sense of humour, but owing to his role as a sole charge policeman in a country area, he was in some respects a lonely man. He was a proud man, with high principles on human behaviour.

He was conscious of his sworn duties as a policeman.

His experience as a police officer was extensive. Serving as a constable in the Glasgow police force early last century, particularly around the docks and ship building areas, would have been testing. His service with the NZ. police force over some thirty five years in Auckland, Huntly and Warkworth was also during challenging times in New Zealand’s history. Mine problems in Huntly (Horse work mainly) and the flue epidemic in Auckland after World War one were amongst some of the challenges.

He was a competent book keeper and typist.

His outside interests comprised, his family, a few close friends, lawns bowls (he was a good player) gardening and his beach cottage in Orewa. He did not social at any of the hotels in his district or similar social functions, as he found that this type of occasions would compromise his duties as a constable. Some Publicans, and others, offered brides [bribes] in various forms with some sending cases of liquor, which were promptly returned, and often a charge of illicit trading followed against any publican involved.

After arriving in New Zealand, he did not make a return visit to Scotland.

He appeared, in the main, to be content with his lot, and enjoyed a satisfying and happy life.

His work life was serving the community and maintaining law and order.

SERVICE RECORDS

REGISTER, CITY OF GLASGOW POLICE FORCE.

Date of Appointment, Promotion, Reduction, Transfer, Resignation, Dismissal, Death, or Superannuation.

May 2 1910   Apptd. Proby. Cons. @ 25/-
June 6 1910   Transferred to “H” Div.
Oct. 11 1910   Apptd. 3rd Cl.[Class]Constable
Nov. 2 1910   Promoted 2nd Cl. Cons. @ 26/2
June 1. 1911   Pay increased to 26/3
Nov 2 1911   Promoted to 1st Cl. Cons. @ 27/5.
Nov. 5 1912   Transferred to “L” Div.
April 17 1913   Resigned

Date of Reports against, and Remarks in favour of

N. Z. POSTINGS

1914 – 1922   Auckland
1922 – 1929   Huntly
1929 – 1949   Warkworth

Long Service Medal

CAMBUSNETHAN CEMETARY
NORTH LANARKSHIRE – SCOTLAND

ERECTED BY THOMAS AND AGNES ROBERTSON IN LOVING MEMORY OF THEIR CHILDREN

JANET ROSS
DIED 12TH FEB 1898   AGED 2 1/2 YEARS

HUGH
DIED 13TH FEB 1904   AGED 16 YEARS

JOHN
DIED 31ST OCT 1906 AGED   4 1/2 YEARS

MARY
DIED AT WELLINGTON N Z.
25th JULY 1922   AGED 31 YEARS

THE ABOVE
AGNES ROBERTSON
DIED 2ND MARCH 1932   AGED 67 YEARS

ALSO THE SON
CONSTABLE GEORGE RR ROBERTSON
DIED 10TH SEPT 1949   WARKWORTH NZ

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR MOTHER

FROM GEORGE WALTER AND JIM
NEW ZEALAND

Photo Caption –
AGNES AND THOMAS ROBERTSON’S FAMILY
CIRCA 1912

Back: Walter, Mary, George, Bella
Front: Lizzie, Agnes, Thomas, James

CR Reid – Photo Studio
Wishaw. Glasgow
Scotland

MAP OF RODNEY COUNTY

Photo caption –
The Royal Mail in 1930 with the Warkworth Hotel in the background.

WARKWORTH POLICE DISTRICT

The sole charge police district covered the districts of Orewa, Waiwera, Puhio, Tahekaroa, Warkworth, Matakana, Leigh, Pakiri, Kaipara Flats, to the Dome Valley North of Warkworth. The coastal areas, including Kawau Island and the smaller near Islands, also part of the district.

The Constable was available at call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If required, assistance was available to the South in Auckland, or at Wellsford to the North. During the 1920’s and 30’s, especially in the winter months, the roads South and North were often impassable for periods of time. The horse was the main mode of transport, and hiring a boat was necessary for calls to the near islands, and coastal drowning etc.

Warkworth did not have the services of a morgue, ambulance, armed offenders squads, hospital accident facilities, immediate police back up, and the officer in charge had to manage these issues with improvisation.

The Officer in charge was provided with a police house, salary as Police officer, allowance as Clerk of the Court. He had to provide his own transport, a horse, and a car for which he received a small allowance to cover expenditure.

The horse was called Don. A large gelding who filled his role admirably. A bit strong willed. On one occasion he arrived home from Makana with no rider, he had been tied up with his reins whilst Constable was on a case, and he became fed up waiting, and chewed his reins through and came home by himself. The horse was sold in late 30’s when roads became more passable, and he for some years appeared at local shows as a talented show jumper. Car journeys in 1920’s and 1930’s on Northlands clay roads was often an adventure in itself.

In the late 20’s and early 30’s the most difficult hills had a permanent roadman in attendance. He would have a hut, usually half way up a hill, and his job was to clean the road drains, and repair the major pot holes in the road. He would have a wheel barrow, a shovel, axe and pick. His hut was one room, a corrugated iron chimney, a table (table clothe a newspaper), chair, and a bunk usually some manuka poles with a chaff sack fixed over the poles comprised his bed. Constable Robertson always called on these men, and usually had a cup of tea. These roadmen knew all the traffic movements in the area, and could be helpful to the Constable. On another occasion he took one of the roadman to a doctor for medical treatment. The Roman Catholic priest, Father Skinner, at Puhoi was often given a ride in his car. The priest did not always have a vehicle, and attended his parish needs on foot.

LAW AND ORDER – 1929-1949

During this period Police were generally respected/feared, and the public mostly cooperative. A family would feel disgraced to be charged with an offence. The majority took pride in themselves and families.

The law of the country at that time was of assistance to the police, to keep law and order.

Strict control on alcohol consumption: Age limit 21, before one could drink in a hotel.
Could not purchase liquor until 21 years of age.
Hotel hours rigid: Open 9am close 6 p.m. Mon to Sat.
Age of majority 21 years of age.
Parents were responsible for children’s’ actions under 21 years of age.
Stealing a bike was a crime.
Society was more caring.
No gangs, as known today.
No drugs of any amount, usually opium confined to Chinese.

Certainly very restrictive on today’s standards, but assisted the Police to maintain a safer society.

Police were more visible to the community as they carried out more walking patrols, and were closer to their community. They played a high crime preventative role.

Photo caption –

Constable Robertson   Mr. A Warrin Coroner   Constable Dale

Magistrates Court Warkworth – 1880 – 2013

Court Houses were a status symbol of an ordered society

Constable George Robertson’s administration term 1929 to 1949, after his death the Justice Dept took over much of his duties, to free the local policeman from these tasks.

A large wooden building with offices and courtroom. Constable had his own office for administration, with large safe for records fines etc. A passage way in the courthouse had a row of iron buckets (painted red) full of water in case of fire, over the years these rusted out, and remained empty prior to a town water supply.

Jail was at the rear of courthouse in early days to facilitate prisoner appearance in court.

Court records cover a wealth of early history, and the social attitudes, and changes that have taken place over the years in our more liberal society. Justice was dispensed on most failures of human nature from minor offences, to theft, gun laws, assault, motor vehicle offences, matrimonial, alcohol breaches, rustling cattle and sheep through to murder.

Early records show: – The local Justice of the peace, who presided in the absence of a resident Magistrate, and the local policeman who also carried out the role of Clerk of the court, administered quick Justice to offenders. The Constables knowledge of the resident of the area and individuals shortcomings was of value to ensuring an orderly society. A Judge recently stated that the Warkworth Courthouse has a sense of history and mystery, which still prevail today.

Parents were fined 6 shillings, plus court costs of two pounds for not sending their children to school.

A local clergyman was fined ten pounds for speeding over 30 miles an hour, without sounding his horn as a warning, Magistrate said he was a menace.

After hour drinking in Waiwera Hotel. A group of men were fined 20 shillings each with court costs of 10 shillings, and the publican 5 pounds with court costs 10/- (1929)

The Coroner also used the Courthouse for his hearings.

COURTHOUSE BUILDING 1880
Originally built as Constables residence, later enlarged for use as a Courthouse, and separate constables residence erected in 1912.

Photo caption –
Constable John Haddock and family together with horse in residence – 1888

[Family photos]

[Family photos]

STORIES OF THE JAIL

The jail was behind the Courthouse originally.
Moved up the hill behind the police house in the 1940,s
Two cells with an adjoining passage. Made of wood.
Cell contained canvas horse hair mattress on the floor, two heavy wool blankets, and a bucket in the corner.
Set on fire once, prisoner had a wax match in the bottom his pocket, which he later used to set mattress on fire. Minor damage and prisoner a little smoked, but okay.
Being in sole charge, the Constable had some challenges in containing and jailing some customers. Particularly drunks. One in particular, a one handed quarry worker. Hand cuffs were not of assistance in that case.
In a small community most were known to the constable. Some just spent a night to sober up, and went home with some remorse the next day.
Occasionally the overnight local stayer was given breakfast with the family, before departing home. Mrs Robertson supplied the food for prisoners from her kitchen.
During the recession the jail was open to travelling unemployed people, Mrs Robertson used to feed them, and gave them old clothes to continue on in their search for work. One overcoat was returned sometime later, dry cleaned with a letter of thanks.
Other stays were not at all pleasant to handle. Required the skill of an experienced policeman. Some were suffering from mental ills, very little medical assistance available in those early days.
Jail was often (when vacant,) used to store stolen and seized goods. Confiscated liquor, a Japanese machine gun in working order, a collection of swords, and a quite a range of interesting items.
The wall of the cells, over the years, had a historic series of sketches made by the various inmates. Some in pencil, others scratched on the wooden walls.
A few verses, others sketches, one of a man working with a wheel barrow, or cracking rocks, mostly relatively “clean” on today’s standards.
Some a bit aggressive and others very sad.
When the jail was moved to its present site at the Warkworth Museum, sadly some person painted over this piece of history.

POLICE STATION, COURTHOUSE AND SURROUNDS.

The buildings were situated on several acres of land, sufficient to graze a horse, two dairy cows, fowl run, and family pets.

House. Built in 1912. 1929 there was no electric power until Christmas eve 1936.
Wooden range, 4 bedrooms, sitting room, large family dining area, and separate scullery with outside meat safe. Separate washhouse, with a brick copper, tubs etc. Water tanks (iron) toilet in back yard. Wood shed, fowl run. Wooden butter churn, and separator, for cream part of essentials.
A big old cold house, in early days. Town water supply and sewerage eventually arrived in later years.
There was a track down the front paddock from the house to the courthouse.
Later years, the Ministry of Works up graded the house and facilities to an acceptable standard. Moved the jail nearer the house, and improved the office attached to the house. Much easier for one man to administer.

Courthouse 1880 – 2013…

Property today now owned by local Iwi, future use yet to be decided.

Originally built as accommodation for first resident Constable in 1880, with Courthouse facilities added to house later. Sadly this Constable Neil McLeod was shot dead whilst on duty.
Today a large wooden building with offices and courtroom. Constable had his own office for administration, with large safe for records fines etc.
The jail was placed at back of courthouse, (handy for prisoners appearing in court) as was the stable for the horse, together with room at one end which could house a horse gig.
One cow milking shed a lean to on the end of the stables.
Well appointed stable, with fodder bins, manger etc. The stable was often used as a morgue, following drowning, accidents, and deaths of itinerants as there were no other facilities available in early days.
The stable building was later pulled down. Only the courthouse remains today, adjoining a modern police station with a large staff. A water tank stood at rear, mainly used to wash the horse returning home with clay up to his belly at times, prior to drying him, placing cover, and putting him to bed in the stable.

TODAY. Most of the land has been taken for roads, and houses. Old house has been converted into motel type accommodation, and the current police are located adjoining the old courthouse.

WARKWORTH WORLD WAR TWO

The threat of a Japanese invasion was real at Warkworth, the surrounding district and the Hauraki Gulf. A German raider had laid mines in the Gulf. A NZ Navy minesweeper sunk with no survivors. A large ship motor vessel (MN) Niagra [Niagara] sunk also with no loss of life. It had ten million dollars worth of gold on board, most of which has been salvaged in recent years. Many mines floated ashore and exploded on the shore line, or were destroyed by the Navy with gun fire. Beaches had barbed wire entanglements and NZ army troops were in camps around Warkworth. Home guard and blackouts on coastal properties were in place. Japanese submarines entered the Auckland Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. Food and clothing was rationed. Many homes built air raid shelters, which being in a clay soil, mostly filled up with rain water.

The Yanks arrived in Warkworth in their tens of thousands in 1942 and lifted Warkworth out of the Victorian era into the 20th Century. Upon the arrival of the American Marines the NZ troops moved their garrison to the far North of the country, and handed over the Warkworth camps to the U.S. Marines and soldiers.

Photo caption –
US Marines parading, main street Warkworth 1943 – the march taking about 20 minutes to pass the saluting base, from which the Regimental Commander took the salute. On the reviewing stand also were representatives of local bodies and other regimental officers. Never before had Warkworth witnessed such a fine military display.

Constable Robertson managed the Rodney area, Army and all, without any outside assistance. The American troops were well behaved and their Military Police were strict. The NZ army caused more work for the Constable following up New Zealand civil offences. One American Marine was detained by police, a deserter who turned up after jumping ship in Auckland. He was held until Military Police came from Auckland to take him away. Constable Robertson was concerned for the soldier’s future welfare.

Police work mainly centred on arriving prostitutes, sly grog operators, and ensuring local laws: 6 p.m. hotel closing times, and the security of business houses in the surrounding areas. The Americans were amazed that law officers did not carry side arms, shot guns etc., and still maintained law and order. Police had to record American deaths in NZ. A number were killed in sea landings and exercises.

Warkworth hotel was not big enough for the large numbers of troops to have a beer. They were allowed to stand outside the bar, and hand beer through window, provided they kept them off the footpath outside the hotel. Up to 1000 per day had leave at times, Warkworth was all khaki colour.

Local farmers became well clothed, American jackets, boots etc. Sale days looked like and army exercise. Warkworth came to life seven nights a week, with pictures six nights, and dances jitter bug on one night, and girls always in short supply.

NZ customs raided local farms and towns for goods that duty had not been paid; not a very popular move. For example, they took food cans, dried fruit, clothes, and electrical goods. Some guns and a jeep were also found, including a Japanese machine gun in good working order.

Constable Robertson gained respect of Americans, and locals for his handling of this invasion, which could have gone wrong very easily. During this time, many enjoyed the hospitality of the Robertson family.

Photo caption –
US Army men emerge from a liquid lunch at warkworth hotel 1943, The pepper tree on the right is still there.

U.S. MARINES ATTACKED

A group of three young males, decided to attack the U>S> Marines, with some lethal weapons during their stay in Warkworth.

They were armed with shanghais, (slingshots) and sticks of flexible willow with lumps of northland clay attached to gain trajectory. They stationed themselves near kowhai park, and when Marine truck convoys passed they would attack with a shower of stones and clay, and then retreat into the park.

The Marines did not re-act too severely, usually a wave or shake a fist as the trucks rolled by.

A quiet day came with no convoys, and the three musketeers became a bit bored, and decided to have a practise run on a motor car. It proved to be very successful with a direct hit with a lump of clay travelling through an open window into the car and landing on a ladies fox fur. Disaster, the local Constable was called to arrest these adventurers. They were quickly found, and their weapons were seized, and they received a few words of advice on the handling of lethal weapons.

The shanghais went into a large box at the police station with numerous other shanghais and weapons of destruction.

The names of the three adventurers will remain confidential, except to say that one of them still resides in a retirement village in Warkworth, with his old hockey stick by the front door, and his remaining shanghai carefully stored away with his personal treasures.

THE CONSTABLE’S FAMILY

In a small community when most people know each other, the law enforcement officer’s family can face some issues, which can require some tact to handle. Some people, who have transgressed, can show their anger to the Constable or by taking their anger to his family in various ways. Letters were sent to the Constable making accusations against his family. For example, “Saw son speeding on motor bike: charge him”, “Saw son with slingshot shooting ducks”, “Saw son drinking under age” “Cops son etc. at school teasing him”.

These letters were mostly from cranks, offenders, often harmless, but at times some action had to be taken by the Constable to settle a situation. The family needed to be close and supportive to handle these situations. Fortunately Constable Robertson was well respected in the community, and these issues never developed into any serious problem.

It was a challenge to the officer’s children that they had to live with and cope in their own way. Often quite humorous. For example, Ewing travelled to Kawau Island with his father who was investigating a drowning accident. I was having lunch in the hotel whilst my father was busy. A young man joined me and said “that bloody cop raided the hotel a few weeks ago, proper old bugger. Do you know him?”. “Yes” I said, “he is my father”. The man left the table and went to the kitchen somewhat embarrassed.

Photo captions –
George Robertson with three of his children, 1935.
Robertson Family – 1939

CONSTABLE’S WIFE

In a country station like Warkworth, open for the public seven days a week for 24 hours a day, phone calls for assistance can come at any time of day or night. A surprising number came late at night, from places at quite a distance away. When the constable was away at various parts of his district, at times for most of a day, or night, in the more remote areas he was not available to answer the phone or deal with queries. No wireless connection or cell phones in the early days.

His wife would take messages, and often have to deal with very upset and worried people. Often aggressive and unpleasant people making impossible demands. Callers at the house also had to be dealt with, some very difficult ones. Accidents, drowning accidents, fire arm reports etc. fights etc. It often required counselling people until the Constable became available.

On one occasion the Constable was called to a problem at an isolated farm, and he had not long departed before a farm neighbour rang to say the person involved had a gun and was shooting wildly, His wife had to just wait and hope he was okay. He seldom carried arms. No back up, no armed offenders squads etc. He was shot at, but talked the person around and returned home with the offender who was placed in custody. Next morning Mrs. Robertson prepared the offenders meal.

Mrs Robertson ensured that the courthouse interior was kept clean and tidy for visits from the Magistrate for his regular court hearings. A busy period all round for husband and wife. Visits from senior Government officials, and occasionally the Minister of Police were added chores.

Government statistics on area, people, cattle numbers etc. were mainly completed by Mrs Robertson and eldest daughter.

Family meals, especially evening meals were often held without the Constable being present. With 4 hotels in the area closing times had to be enforced in those days. Constables hours, and meals etc. were flexible.

A sole charges police station had a very able unpaid extra staff member in his spouse.

Mrs Margaret Robertson was a special lady who supported her husband in his duties, and reared a family of five boys and two girls; a pioneer.

Photo captions –
Mrs Robertson
Mrs Robertson and daughter Margaret – 1939

Photo caption –
Margaret and George
Wedding Day – 1916

YOUNG RUSSELL

Being the youngest of a family of seven had many advantages, and a few disadvantages.

The youngest missed out on many things like: –

Milking the house cow in all weathers.
Sawing firewood.
Mowing lawns.
Feeding the chooks.
Cleaning out the chook house.
Minding young siblings.
Digging the garden.
Cleaning the car.

But a few advantages like :-

A new bike – rather than a hand me down.
New clothes – rather than a hand me down.
A horse of his own. (old, broken knees, but a horse)
Brother John’s meccano set. (whilst John was in Egypt fighting a war)

Mum and Dad were getting older and a bit tired, which assisted Russell no end. It could be said he was a bit spoilt, not bad, but some. In hindsight if he was spoilt (and he was really) by his older brothers and sisters who could have been the main culprits. Quite good fun having a little sibling. As he got older he received plenty of advice, and directions from his older members of the family. (note: – Russell would challenge that this was an advantage)

Being the youngest, and for all the good reasons: –

GEORGE ROBERTSON – OUR DAD (memories by Russell)

There are many exciting and interesting times to recall that I shared with Dad and as the youngest family member I was also able to share some great times with my older siblings.

Dad was an excellent driver with his 1936 Chevrolet giving him years of reliable service with brother John the No. 1 mechanic my sister Noelene and I had some great adventures with Dad on his many trips around Rodney.

I recall one trip out to Ahuroa when we met a large truck on a narrow winding road, Dad moved over to the left and “squash” we were in the drain and up against the clay bank. Dad was always unflappable and suggested I run back to Mr Sanderson’s house and ask him to come and pull us out. That formality attended to Dad proceeded on his way back home via Kaipara Flats with a very bent up running board and dented mudguard cars were built strong in those days. Brother John the mechanic, soon had the Chev tidied up and back on the road.

Dad arrived home one day to say he had bought a launch which was moored on the Mahurangi River adjacent to the dairy factory. There was no shortage of crew members and Dad used to take us on trips down the Mahurangi River to do some fishing and just enjoy the scenery. Dad was not recognized for his nautical navigation skills.

On one particular trip with brother Ewing, Noelene and I as crew, Dad decided to “cut a corner” coming home. We crossed a sandbank and the boat started to go slower – slower – with great clouds of sand being stirred up behind and we eventually came to a stop. Dad ordered Ewing over the stern and to push us off. As soon as Ewing went overboard the boat lightened enough for us to slowly go ahead leaving Ewing stranded on the sand bank.

The launch was powered by an Austin 7 car engine complete with the gearbox and clutch with the handbrake lever fitted to the side of the cockpit acting as the steering wheel. Did we catch any fish? I doubt it, as Dad was quite happy to just cruise on his Queen Mary.

My sister Noelene was always the ‘planner’ from raiding the elder brothers cigarette store or taking me in their absence to their favourite whitebait spot, so we could net the fish and race home to Mum and show off what “she” had caught.

I thought I had got my revenge when one day practicing my golf swing Noelene got in the way and received a ‘clip’ on the head with an out of control golf club. The resultant bellowing left me no alternative but to race off and hide behind the old copper in the wash house. That was fine until the wounded one told Mum where l was and Mum promptly lit the copper. Thirty minutes later I was done, I turned and raced to safety only to be stopped by Dad who dealt with the crime committed.

The Puhoi Community were known for after hours trading at the Pub. Sundays were popular days to visit the Pub particularly after Church. On many occasions Dad would receive a call from some irate wife stating her husband had not returned home after Church and was at the pub drinking. Dad on several occasions drove down on a Sunday only to find both the Pub and library closed up and no sign of any activity. It turned out that a resident who lived on the road between Warkworth and Puhoi would phone the Puhoi Pub and tell them Dad’s car had just gone past heading to Puhoi. This filtered back to Dad who one Sunday borrowed one of the boys cars and arrived in Puhoi “un-announced”. The Pub was closed up, curtains drawn and doors locked. When Dad knocked on the door it became an exercise to see how many men would fit through a half open side window needless to say Dad knew them all and it did not take long to round them up and issue a verbal warning. Contravening the liquor licensing laws in those days was a serious offence and the locals no doubt appreciated Robbie’s leniency.

A trailer was built complete with prairie schooner-like canopy for us kids to sleep in while travelling. Dad planned a big trip to take Ewing back to Wellington in the Chev along with the trailer for accommodation along the way. The trip South was uneventful until we reached Wanganui to stay overnight in the Camping Ground. Overnight we had torrential rain and woke in the morning to knee deep water. Dad thought it was a hoot while Noelene, Ewing and I had a sleepless night with the rain pouring down. While Dad and Mum slept in five star comfort. The trip was a great experience we had no radio to entertain us but plenty of “I spies”. Returning to Warkworth with car, kids and trailer intact must have been very satisfying for Dad.

I look back in awe at the trials and tribulations our parents experienced, it was a time in our lives to treasure. We will always be thankful that Margaret Ewing and George Robertson met on that day on Grafton Bridge in Auckland.

FAREWELL

Constable George Ross Russell Robertson

22/12/1888 – 17/9/1949 Warkworth closed in respect for his farewell, and a march through the town, lead by the pipers of the Auckland Police band followed by citizens of the district.

The pallbearers were his two brothers, Walter and James, with four of his sons, Tom, John, Hugh and Ewing.

His service to the district was acknowledged by citizens of all age groups.

His final resting place is on the hill cemetery overlooking Warkworth, a town where he was the local policeman for some 20 years. His wife Margaret now shares his resting place. A town they both enjoyed.

LAST RESPECTS

Such a tribute as to reveal that the Late G. R. Robertson was a beloved as well as highly respected member of the Community was seen in his funeral on Tuesday. Hundreds of people, from near and far, joined the solemn cortege which escorted the casket from the police House to Anglican Cemetery. All business premises closed for one hour while the largest procession seen in a considerable time made its way through the town.

Highland pipers led the cortege, which included official and personal representation of the Police Force and Transport Department. Floral tributes were abundant. At a service in the Anglican church prior to the burial, Rev. G. O. Adams, officiating minister, praised the late Mr. Robertson for his “duty well done.”

Thus was fitting tribute made to one who for so long in our midst discharged the onerous duties of Policeman with kindness, impartiality, and meritorious efficiency.

Photos.

LIST OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS

George Ross Russell Robertson   Born, 22/12/1888   Deceased 12/9/49
Margaret Robertson (Wife)   Born 5/10/1891   Deceased 15/1/82

Thomas Neilson Robertson    02/6/1917   10/08/2011 (Decd)
John Ewing Robertson   20/3/1919   2013 – present
Margaret Christie   Q.S.M. S.S.St. J   10/9/1923   2013 – present
Hugh Robertson   30/11/1925   20/06/2012 (Decd)
Ewing Robertson   Q.S.O. J.P.   28/10/1929   2013 – present
Noelene Elsie Gatehouse   10/10/1933   2013 – present
George Russell Robertson   9/12/1935   2013 – present

PHOTO OF FAMILY GROUP – 1981

Russell – John – Hugh – Tom – Ewing
Noeleen – Margaret

Orewa Beach – 1933

Constable Robertson on duty for crowd control, and to keep people clear of the plane for take off and landing.

Sir Charles Ulm landed his plane the “Faith in Australia” on Orewa Beach to raise funds to cover his petrol costs for his return to Australia

Original digital file

RobertsonE894_LawandOrder.pdf

Date published

June 2013

Format of the original

Booklet

People

  • Margaret Christie
  • Noelene Elsie Gatehouse
  • Agnes Ross Robertson
  • Ewing Robertson
  • George Ross Russell Robertson
  • George Russell Robertson
  • Hugh Robertson
  • John Ewing Robertson
  • Thomas Robertson
  • Thomas Neilson Robertson

Accession number

894/2060/44770

Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.