for climbing trees, not just to construct a tree house aswe did in our old macrocarpa tree, but to spring frombranch to branch to pluck the plums without damagingthe bloom on the fruit. These would be sent off to themarkets, Turners and Growers, each fruit carefullywrapped in tissue and each box stamped with our ownbrand, and I do not remember us ever receiving a gradingless than A1. The rewards may have been small but theystill helped to keep hunger at bay especially in days of the depression.
At the top of Tiverton Road there was a small farm andsmall herd of cows and I recall the owner bringing in theanimals for milking accompanied by a large pig. Whenhe disappeared from the scene, the pig that is, we oftenspeculated as to whether he turned up as crispy bacontogether with free-range eggs on the breakfast table, andminus his oink. Our neighbour Mr Reisterer decided hewould seed and cultivate what we called horsemushrooms in his back paddock, to his regret out of sightfrom his homestead but luckily for us in full-view fromour kitchen window. They were magnificent in size andflavour and I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr R wasaware of why his crop of mushrooms was not asabundant and successful as he had expected. I wonder if today someone is benefiting from big mushrooms pop-ping up on their back lawn.
Raiding orchards was another minor misdemeanour inthose days when hunger and temptation overcametwinges of conscience, but it was a different matter whenyou became the victim and the culprit was unknown.Mother had one resounding success however. Her sharpeyes noted a trail of orange skins leading away over thefields to Bentleigh Avenue and beyond just after thebutcher boy had delivered the order. With basket in handshe followed the trail collecting the evidence as shewent. Needless to say she ended at the destination sheexpected, Mr Milichen’s Butcher shop at the cornerof New North and Richardson Roads. The result was ameat order freeand gratis ac-companied by areprimand for thecontrite butcherboy and a clip onthe ear, followedby a long walk home for mother.The halcyon daysof summer foundus pitching tent in
The Avondale Historical Journal Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 12
(Mr Waterfield is a member of the Avondale HistoryGroup, who in 1994 published “Challenge of theWhau”, written by Mr Ron Oates. Here are some of theepisodes of life growing up in Avondale Mr Waterfield has very kindly offered to share with us all. Thank you, Eric! — editor)
The School Fancy Dress Ball
For some strange reason the Avondale School in thetwenties always held the above event in the middle of winter. On this night we had the weather to prove it. Asa ten year old I had little imagination when it came tofancy dress, so I asked Dad who suggested I look in thenewspaper ads. While scanning the pages I found a lit-tle, quite well-known ad which showed a side-on viewof a sea captain dressed in oilskin, gumboots, beard andpipe etc. carrying a huge sardine on his back.
The ad of course was advertising “Skipper Sardines”. Itwas ideal as I could find most of the “dress” around thehouse. The cardboard fish proved the most challenginghowever. I assembled all that was required in time.Came the big night and it poured but there I was dressedfor both the weather and the event. I had to walk fromthe bottom of Avondale Road to the Oddfellows hall inSt Georges Rd approximately 2 kms. I had no soonerstepped inside when my teacher ordered me outside andto take those wet things off! I tried to explain behind mybeard that I was in the parade which had started! So Ihad to shed and shake my things outside, re-entered theparade and was delighted to win “most original dress”and took home a box Brownie camera.
One Shopping Day
My mother and eldest sister set out across marketgardens to reach Riversdale Road on their way to shopat the village of Avondale. Some distance along the roadthey encountered a drover who was having difficulty
by Eric Waterfield
the orchard to spend the night under the stars so to speak,drifting off to the mournful cry of the morepork and theplaintive calls of the seabirds as they wheeled overheadon their way to and from their feeding grounds on theupper reaches of the Waitemata, and the Manukau sand-banks.
You may not hear them today due to city lights and traf-fic noise but I know they are still doing it. One very stilland quiet night not long ago they revived that lovely longlost memory.
Artwork by Ms. Liz Claude-Goldie.