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BEVERLEY OLWYN BROWN's story

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



Bev was educated in Christchurch before working for T & G Assurance where she spent ten years, becoming head of the clerical department. She played netball for Linwood Avenue Old Girls, her old school, and she loved walking, cycling and reading. After bringing up her family of three daughters, she returned to work for ten years with the Canterbury Building Society. She held various positions with the Redcliffe WDFF* including branch president and secretary.

Theo served with RNZAF from 1942 to 1945 as an aircraftsman, 1st class in the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. He played rugby, tennis and hockey in his younger days and bowls in later years. He was a fitter, turner and general engineer with Christchurch Transport Board, where he became the longest serving employee. They lived at 19 Oxford Road, Rangiora.

Bev wrote a piece called "Memories" which is reproduced here:

MEMORIES

by Bev de Thier


Going by train to Dunedin, staying a couple of nights with the Alldreds and then Uncle Joe, with some of his children aboard would take us by car to Kyeburn for the Christmas holidays, usually three weeks. Every second year we went down to Invercargill to Mum's people.

In the latter years when Granny and John had a car, Syd would meet us halfway through the Pigroot (a mountainous road in Otago) and take us on from there, Uncle Joe going back to Dunedin and the children carrying on with us. Then when Pix went home for good, she used to meet the train with the car at Palmerston.

Can still smell Granny's kitchen; she was always up to her elbows in flour, busily baking huge gooseberry and blackcurrant pies, crusts top and bottom inches thick, pigeon pies when the pigeon population was particularly thick, huge jam tarts and girdle scones, absolutely scrumptious.

Syd worked as a tractor driver on Young's sheep station down on the flat, on the main road passing through to Danseys Pass. He left home at the crack of dawn to walk down the peninsula across the river and up to the station. We would hear him in the pantry before he left, cutting himself a huge wedge of fruit pie and I mean a huge wedge!! That was to sustain him until breakfast time at Youngs, I suppose

Vague memories of one of our trips from Palmerston of stopping round about Morrisons to collect a dressed goose from a farm. It was in one of those old fashioned straw baskets that had a lid. Can remember a race or a stream with carpets of mint on its banks. I remember the lady of the house giving me a huge bunch of mint to take to Granny. Probably 'coals to Newcastle'. I have always loved the smell of mint and wonder if it stems from that day. Have always said to my girls they can plant mint on my grave!

(This now seems to refer to Robert Brown's house)
Remember too a row of little sod shelters along the side of the race away from the house wondering whether at some time they housed geese. Have a vague memory thet the Race ran through the back of the house plantation, surrounding the house at a distance. Trees along front were cherry trees, fruit not particularly sweet. A gate that always had to be kept shut so cows, sheep, horses and fowls couldn't wander in led out into outside yard where the fowl house, wool shed, cowshed etc were.

Old fashioned lav with a wooden seat and a pan that had to be emptied - no night cart called there. No door on the lav so you could sit there on a summer's day with a pile of Smith's Weeklies, NZ Womens Weeklies, Truths, Otagop Dailies etc beside you and have a good read or gaze out at the lilac bushes or talk to the chooks (chickens) which had managed to get inside the gate. All sorts of fruit trees, rowans, blackcurrant, white currant and red currant bushes grew in the plantation. We used to walk over to the old garden a good way from the house, crossing the bridge over the race and going through a gate to pick gooseberries which gre in abundance at the diggings. One of the Alldreds, praobably Alan, told me once that there was a wild animal in the plantation and I used to scoot over that wee bridge as if all hell were after me, if I happened to be alone.

Bathroom was off the kitchen and right beside the coal range so that when you had your bath by candlelight, you had the warmth of the stove as well. Granny always bought Mum and Dad an early cup of tea in the morning and there were always biscuits, wine or tennis for Shir and I and the Alldreds if they were staying.Biscuits today definitely do not taste the same as they did in those days.

Trips over to Uncle Moses' place by buggy and latterly by car were always a treat as Granny didn't visist people very much. Though she always called on her friend Mrs Dawson when Naseby was visited every Friday for supplies. Granny went to Dunedin, I suppose every year, before the winter to stock up her pantry as there were times when they couldn't get out, or ford the river; they would be snowed in. The visits to Moses were always musical afternoons, as both Moses and Mum sang and Auntie Flo played the piano. Uncle Moses' solo was 'Down, down in sunshine valley' - I can still hear him singing it, rising to a crescendo. When Aunti Flo married Jim Flett and had Betty, their daughter, there was somebody for us to play with although she was younger. Remember she had a pet brown rabbit (a wild one) who had a collar with chain attached that gave it the freedom of the back lawn.

Seem to remember the piano was on a raised part of the sitting room or living room. On the way up to Moses' place we would stop and say "hello" to Percy Brown. Very seldom saw his wife Mary; she always seemed to be in bed. Percy was always a kind, gentle sort of man. I know John never forgave himself for not being there when Percy was killed in the claim.

Shir and I spent hours tramping the hills and diggings with our Dad. He could name all the plants we saw, so it was in the nature of a nature ramble. He told us once the story of how the musk flower lost its scent, but unfortunately I can't remember the story. Smetimes he would pan for gold - he had a little aspro bottle he kept it in. After dinner at night he would go out shooting rabbits for the dogs' tucker and Shir and I would go with him. The ground would be seething with rabbits, they popped up everywhere. They were long hot summery days and balmy nights. After Theo and I were married we took our daughters to Kyeburn and they loved it as much as we had done. Mum and Dad and Shir were with us and as soon as the car reached i nto the Little Kyeburn, Dad was rejuvenated; he was nearly home and in fact once when we got out of the car at Granny's he did a Highland Fling, much to the delight of his granddaughters.. Our eldest daughter Lynne tramped the hills with Da too. "Da" was our daughters' name for Dad. Jill went too when it wasn't too far for her small legs (somewhere amongst the tussocks her small blue teddy bear waits for her) and Wendy was only a toddler so doesn't remember very much

Grandad died when Shir and I were very young. I think I should have been about eight years old but I am not sure. He was a disciplinarian but very fair and very kind to us small children. His eyes twinkled and sometimes his goatee beard would tremble when he was trying to keep a straight face. He sat at the head of the big dining table and us children were seated down the other end, "below the salt", we used to call it. Marj Alldred was irrepressable at times, always full of fun, and sometimes at the table Grandad would croos the forefingers of his two hands and look between them at Marj and she would know that it was time to be quiet, and all the time those old eyes would be twinkling and the goatee beard would be trembling with suppressed laughter. Uncle Jack called Marj "cheeky face" and me "bare legs"; we didn't wear socks on those hot summer days. One year Marj received a book for Christmas and in it was printed the song "John Brown had a Little Indian", and she teased John with this whenever she saw him, till one day he picked her up and held her over the washing tub and threatened to turn the cold tap on her.

Washing day at Granny's was a big affair, with the copper having to be filled with buckets of water, the fire under it stoked. The washing tubs stood on a platform affair in the wash-house and there Granny washed and scrubbed on the old washing board. Her rule was everything had to be white, linen and underclothes as she boiled everything in the copper. Woollens of course went through the wringer after washing and straight out on the line. Monday was lines and lines of whiter than white washing. Then the washing was all brought in and put through the mangle or ironed with irons heated on the coal range.

I remember that groaning kitchen table at dinner loaded with vegetable dishes of home grown fresh vegies, and new potatos, big roasts, mostly mutton, sometimes fowls, fresh trout and eels, roast rabbits and rabbit stews, pigeon pies, huge caldrons with steamed puds in clouts bobbing around, huge fruit and custard pies. Boy - did anything ever taste as good! Thck cream to go with the puds. I didn't like the home made butter, I was glad when Pix came home from Dunedin and Granny bought shop butter as Pix didn't like the homemade either. Huge jam tarts, scones and girdle scones, and buns - there always seemed to be a batch on the go. The pantry was a fascinating place, full of everything and Christmas puds in their clouts hanging from the ceiling.

The parlour was where the best table and chairs stood. Prickly covers on the chairs and sofa [Horsehair covers? I suffered from them too at my Norfolk grandmother's- RG] Bookcase and china cabinet combined. In the bookcase the book "Pixie O'Shaunessy. I am fairly certain this is where Sheila got the name of Pixie. Had loads of fun playing the old organ, peddalling away madly. Granny played the organ for the church services, walking 5 or 6 miles there and back two or three times a Sunday. Not sure whether there was a church or whether services were held in the schoolhouse.

New Year's Day in Naseby was a magic day. A big sports meeting was held at the Recreation Ground. There were trees right round the ground and there was a mad rush for places under those trees as the day was always so hot. Foot races, bike races, high jumps, hurdles, great rivalry amongst the locals. Tugs of War, Highland dancing - it was all go that day. The people on meeting didn't say "Happy new year"; they always said "Compliments of the season. Granny used to meet a few schoolfriends and we were always tickled to hear them say "Lizzie Donnelly". It always seemed so incongruous that Granny, who was a fine figure of a woman, , very upstanding in her black floral frock and black hat perched high on her 'bun' should be called Lizzie. Mr Kirby's Fruit and Vegie shop had to get in extra stocks of ice cream for that day as there was a constant stream od customers from across the road at the "Rec". If I remember rightly, Granny's father, "Da" Donelly came out to Naseby from Northern Ireland to police the goldfields.

A visit to the town grocer, Ernest Brown was always fascinating. You would be served by either Ernest Brown or his assistant, Willis Jopson. The shop had everything in the way of food and hardware that could possibly be wanted. Mr Behrns was the postmaster and he always came out to meet Granny when she collected her mail.

Naseby was always ablaze with gorse and broom during the Christmas holidays. Dad always told the story of it being his turn to milk the cow when he was young, and he slept in. Grandad came looking for him and chased him down the path. Dad didn't wait to open the gate, he jumped the fence yelling "Brooms wet Blücher". I dont know the significance of that, I'm afraid.




*"WDFF": WOMEN'S DIVISION FEDERATED FARMERS OF NEW ZEALAND (Inc.)

The Women's Division Federated Farmers of New Zealand is a non-party political and non-sectarian society with aims to better the conditions of women and children living in the country, and to stimulate and encourage interest among the farming community in every way by the cooperation of women with farmers' organisations. The movement began in 1925 when a group of 16 farmers' wives, on holiday in Wellington while their husbands were attending a conference of the Farmers' Union (now the Federated Farmers), became concerned with the hardships of farmers' wives and families living in isolated and backblocks areas, and so formed a group which has now grown into the second largest organisation of women in New Zealand. Membership is open to all women interested in these aims, and in 1965 the membership total was over 27,000. There are 800 branches, which form 60 provincial units, and an annual Dominion Conference elects the Dominion Council for the control of their affairs, with a permanent secretary in Wellington. This organisation has its own emergency housekeeper service for country women in time of sickness, and, should payment for these services be a hardship, financial assistance may also be given. The division has been responsible for various publications, including cookery books, and has its own magazine, N.Z. Countrywoman, published every two months.

Rest and holiday homes have been established throughout the country to enable country women to take a rest at moderate cost and in congenial surroundings. Amongst these are "Scotlands" at Auckland; "Te Kiteroa" at Waimate; "Melrose" at Nelson, which was bequeathed to the Women's Division by the late Colonel and Mrs Noel Adams; and "Harris Cottage" at Stanmore Bay, a bequest by Miss M. Harris. In 1948 Dr Agnes Bennett bequeathed her home, "Honda", at Lowry Bay, Wellington, as a rest and holiday centre, but this property has now been disposed of and the funds are to be used to extend the headquarters building in Hawkestone Street, Wellington, so that this may become a residential club for the use of members. This property will be known as "Honda ­ the Agnes Bennett Memorial Clubrooms".

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