memories ........... 1950’s
Broadway Flood 1951
The river flowed through Broadway during a time of seemingly endless rain. Several shops in lower Broadway were inundated with silt and water and a few eels. A span of the Waitahu river bridge was washed away. The children on the other side of the river were schooled at Waitahu until the new span was put in place some time later. Photographs of this flood were placed in the window of Taylor & Kearns opposite McMcElwees butchers and remained there until the 1960’s        

BY tony fortune
1951 Miner’s Strike
During the time of the strike, which lasted several months, my father used to spend a great deal of time going out for a shot. Our family were well off for venison and pork during that time. Other families who were not able to spend time hunting were able to survive as there was a steady stream of donated goods which was brought in from Canterbury by the truckload and stored at the oddfellows hall.
Convent School
I started school in 1957 and can remember my mother taking me from our Dick Street address the short distance to the old wooden building for my first introduction to the Convent school.

As the door opened to the classroom I saw who were to be my classmates playing with beads on the mat at the front of the room. Among them were Melvyn Smith, Graeme Archer (Bimbo), Ross Robertson (Hooley) and Eugene O’Sullivan.

Sister Alphousus was my first teacher in 1957. There were others who were there relieving while Sr Alphousus was either ill or away. Sister Theophone, and Sister 

Austin who took us for drill, were fun for us five to seven year olds.

Some of my early friends in the late ‘50’s were the two Margaret’s - Margaret Etheredge and Margaret McKenzie, Bobby Barkle, Kim Loughnan, Bernadette McMahon, Mary Shutt and Melvyn Smith who lived out near the railway station. He was a friend who left Reefton in about 1959 and I considered my best friend at the time.

School milk was part of our playtime ritual. I was put off pasteurised milk for life as we were used to raw milk which we got at the gate in billies until the early ‘70’s. The bottled milk came up from Westport and was left out at the school gate until the ‘big boys’ brought it in. On a winters day the crates were put next to the open fire where the bottles next to the fire became unbearably hot while the furthest away still had ice inside.

Several times the large lumps of wood on the fire would roll off onto the floor to a scattering of small children nearby. In 1959 pot belly stoves replaced the open fires in the three rooms, installed by Koogen Cutbush’s team of carpenters.

Water fountains were introduced in 1958. I can remember Father Lorrigan showing me how to use them


My introduction to the pictures was a terrifying one. In 1955, as a three year old, my brother who was seven, took me to the pictures. I didn’t stay long as on a pre-intermission documentary or a trailer for an upcoming film I saw an elephant on the big screen. Everything was so dark in the theatre - then suddenly the elephant charged towards the screen and knocked over a tree which fell towards the audience. At this I got out of the seat screaming “the elephant is after us” and ran home with my brother trailing behind.

We used to get lots of old Westerns and cartoons, and silent movies like Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaten and Charlie Chaplin. The Three Stooges, Old Mother Riley and Ma & Pa Kettle were favourites. Frank Hoy managed the theatre when I was a child and manage it well he did. Sylvia Irving was the ticket lady and a variety of people were in charge of the Nibble Nook at half time.Theatres.htmlTheatres.html

   Music top 20



Singing The Blues           Guy Mitchell


Diana  Paul Anka


Just Walking In The Rain

                  Johnnie Ray


Memories Are Made Of This

                 Dean Martin


All Shook Up

                            Elvis Presley


Young Love

                     Tab Hunter


Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

             The Platters


Whatever Will Be Will Be

                Doris Day


.Purple People Eater

                   Sheb Wooley


  Sixteen Tons

       Tennessee Ernie Ford


All I Have To Do Is Dream

                Everly Brothers


Mack The Knife

                   Bobby Darin


Hound Dog

                   Elvis Presley


Tom Dooley

               Kingston Trio


Battle Of New Orleans

                 Johnny Horton


Don't Be Cruel

                     Elvis Presley


It's All In The Game

              Tommy Edwards


Love Letters In The Sand

                     Pat Boon





Jail house Rock

                     Elvis Presley


Polio Epidemic

How many people can remember the number of children in the district with various symptoms of polio. I can remember several children wearing callipers to support their legs for a while.

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Marj & Lew Kearns outside Taylor& Kearns Bookshop