memories  1950’s . . . . .  page  2
Dr Wicken / Dr Heaphy
In the mid 50’s I remember going to Dr Wicken’s surgery on Mace Street where the school halls is today. The house was quite a large house with a surgery added on to the front as you went into the gate. In 1965 the house was moved to Dick Street where it stands today and in its place the Inangahua College Hall was built. I knew Dr Wicken when he was getting older and can remember him coming to our house for tea.

Dr Heaphy came to Reefton and was also a popular doctor in the district. He took over as the main doctor for the Inangahua district. His surgery was on Sinnamon Street which is a flat today. I remember going to him in the late 1960’s and he told me to keep the 5s fee and go to the pictures with it.
Old Fire Station
The old fire station was a rambling old building with 1913 written above the main doors. Beside the building was the high bell tower where sometimes in case the siren didn’t work there was the bell. I can remember Claud Newcome wrapping up the hoses and putting them up on the hoist to dry, and going down to the basement to see all the bits and pieces of equipment for fighting the fires. The old hand pump with its large wheels were parked inside - no longer in use but good to keep as a memento from days gone by.

One day when the siren went I was at the play park playing on the Witches Hat. After the engine went out to the fire I somehow climbed up on a railing, grabbed the rope and gave the bell a few good ‘dongs’. Did I get a real telling off when I proudly revealed that it was me who sounded the bell.


The fire station was demolished in the early 1960’s with a new one built on the site of the Gladstone Hotel on Smith Street.
The Old Powerhouses
As a young boy I used to tag along in the distance when my brother and his friends went anywhere. On this particular day, and several after that, we would go on our bikes over to Rosstown and along the gravel road to the old powerhouse to collect magnets and to look for ‘quicksilver’ which was of course Mercury. We used to let it roll on our hands and put it into small glass medicine containers to take home to play with. We had many adventures at the powerhouse and the adjacent old house in the paddock near the swing bridge where we played either Wars or Cowboys and Indians. I was always the German or the Indian and never, ever won a battle.
Closing of the Albion Hotel at Black’s Point 1951
It was a sad day for the residents of Black’s Point and the pub crawlers of Reefton to witness the closing of the last watering hole in the township. The pub had been condemned as it did not comply with regulations at the time. A photo or two exist of the last day.
Tar sealing of the streets / steamroller
Before I attended school I was on the ‘payroll’ at the ICC Inangahua County Council, or so I thought. In around 1956 or 1957 tar sealing of the streets was well under way. Ranft Street had very large chips, probably because of all the heavy Highway’s Construction lorries parked at Rainbirds just down the road. The biggest drawcard for me was the big red grader and the steam roller. Dick Haldane drove the steam roller and Norm Haldane the grader. I was totally fascinated by these two machines, especially the smoky, rattley steamroller. By being on the payroll I used to follow the council men and Beynons - the tar sealing men - and their machines all around town. At ‘smoko’ I would sit amongst them and have my crib. On occasions I would get a penny for my efforts. As time went by it was found that the roller was too heavy for the roads once they were sealed and it ended up as scrap. The council workmen used to call me “the Wanderer”.
Reefton Taxis
I can remember being driven by Frank Craig’s taxi or Alf Collis in his taxi to the railway station to catch the railcar with my mother and brother. It was always a thrill to ride in a taxi and the first thing I noticed was the leather smell of the seats.

Travelling by railcar was an immense pleasure for me as a wee boy. I used to enjoy the rattle of the railcar and the many stops where people we knew hopped on and off as the engine made its way down the Grey Valley. On the way down mum would get out the basket of warm scones, butter and jam along with a flask of tea. We would have quite a feast on the way.

Listening to the clitter-clattter of the wheels on the joins of the railway lines along with counting the telephone poles was always a highlight.
BY tony fortune

Page: << Previous 2 3  4 5  6  7 8  9  10 Next >>