Return

BETTY FLETT''s story

This account has been adapted from "Browns of Kyeburn Peninsula" by Wally Brown - to whom many thanks



Betty was the only surviving child of Flo and Jim Flett and lived with her mother and Grandfather Moses at Kyeburn Diggings. They moved to Naseby in 1934 where she started her schooling, but a year or two later her mother died and she went north to Mahoe, Stratford with Uncle Arthur. She stayed for a month befoire going south to Mosgiel where she lived for several months with he father's sister, Auntie Mim Gamble.In September 1940 Betty went into Somerville Cottage at Glendinning Home, Anderson's Bay, Dunedin. In less than two years she had lost most of the family she had known.

In the next year in standard six, she won the Blair scholarship which provided enough money for four years at Otago Girls High School. Betty passed her school certificate and university entrance, and was supposed to start in a teachers' training college, but she turned out to be six days too young. She couldn't stay at Glendinning Home, so she found board with a very strange family who she put up with for about a year: she continued with her holiday job of dressmaking at Miss Tucker's at Burlington Street.

She spent her teenage holidays at Naseby with her father, who had a little house made from additions to a hut that used to be in Moses Brown's garden, across the lane. They had no running water inside, only a tap outside and a basin to wash in. They washed their clothes outside in a copper - imagine that with snow on the ground, as was sometimes the case in the winter.

Ian was a carpenter by trade, and they owned and managed two shops in Dunedin, the first at Glenpark Avenue and then later a live-in Dairy/Grocery at St Kilda during the 1960s. Ian became the manager for Fletcher Merchants Pre-cut division in charge of framing, roofing and gangnail trusses and died in 1981. His hobby was golf. Meantime, from 1974 Betty had worked in the Statistics department and retired in December 1988, continuing to live at 128a Musselburgh Rise, Dunedin. They raised two daughters.

One of Betty's hobbies was photography and she specialised in reproducing and collecting old photographs: Her other main interests were native alpine plants and family history, and she wrote the following piece at her caravan stay at the Naseby Camping Ground, about 1 o'clock one morning and suggested it should be called "A Townie Goes to the Country"

Alone on a country road at midnight travelling in a cacoon of light. An overhanging tree reflects the ghostly light and I glance in the rear vision mirror expecting to see someone close behind. There is only a black nothing. The tyres judder on the stony corrugations

But there is life out here; a hedgehog curled into a spiny ball on a one way bridge, an opossum nibbling at the roadside. Is the possie eating tussock? And there is a baby rabbit. Busy highway here tonight.

White reflections like monstrous glow worms light the dip to the woolshed, sparkling signs indicate downhill turns and a myriad of lights away across the plains show that someone else lives in this space world.

A street light glimmers and the blinker clicks loudly as I turn but there is not a sign of life. Maybe the township is peopled only with lights. I glide into the camp with engine running as smooth as a dream, then the car door creaks with a wail like a Banshee crying! At least close the door quietly, drat; the keys are still in the car.Open the door, close it QUIETLY; these doors were not made for silence. Exasperated crash, a fellow camper coughing. Good grief! Who will ever believe that I keep these hours to gather family history.

Return