My Early Years.
In the autumn of 1919 my father took up the position of manager of a large hill country sheep and cattle station, about 2000 hectares in area, in the centre of the North Island, about 40 kilometres from Taihape.
Four years later a new homestead and supplementary farm building were established about one thousand feet lower above sea level, on the banks of the Whangaehu River (of Tangawai fame].
We now lived about 75 kilometres from Wanganui, 30 kilometres of the journey along a winding country road from the village of Mangamahu which consisted of a combined general store and P&T Office, a school, a Hall, and Hotel.
The move to the new home was generally affected per horse-drawn dray & sledge for household furniture, etc. and a buggy and horseback over the hills for personnel.
My father drove the car about 180 kilometres via Marton to Wanganui, just about a full day's journey. The road from Mangamahu was terrible, especially prone to slips in the winter. I remember that it was blocked for six weeks at a time - that was in the pre bulldozer days of wheelbarrow and shovel. And in those days no helicopters to drop emergency supplies, so pantries had to be kept well stocked.
The nearest school to us was six miles away, with about six pupils and an uncertified teacher, so we four children were pupils of the Correspondence School until we went to boarding school for secondary education.
My mother had been a teacher so she was well able to supervise our work A school routine was scrupulously adhered to.
Our big disadvantage was on the social scene. As a family we children had to be self sufficient. We had our pony, pet lambs & puppies, otherwise we explored the bush, and went bird nesting, played in the creek, building dams, catching 'craw-lies' [miniature crayfish] etc. In the summer holidays various aunts and cousins arrived for country holidays. We often returned with them, mostly with the Lower Hutt Family for a city holiday, the highlight being a whole day in Wellington with a visit to the Zoo or Museum.
It was certainly a very isolated life, but apparently a very healthy life style, evidenced by my presence here to day to tell my tale.
Dorothy Herald. 2005