memories  1950’s . . . . .  page  4
Agricultural & Pastoral Shows

These events were much longer in the 1950’s as there was more in the way of live shows, a bigger snake gully where money was lost in putting white balls in the nodding clowns mouth and trying to hit coconuts off shelves they were securely tiedto. The A&P shows were an event where everybody met, country and town alike, everybody wearing their best clothes, girls and women in hats, men in shirt and tie and, of course, Trilby hats. The event even sometimes continued on till the night.
Christmas Tree Parties
Christmas time was great in the 1950’s, especially if your father was in a few organisations where the annual ‘Christmas Tree’ party for children was concerned. It was also a little confusing too, because Santa Claus at the Buffalo Lodge looked a little thinner and sounded quite different in the way he said and did things from the week before at the RSA, and later the Workingmen's Club. Belief in Santa came to a sudden end at the Workingmen's Club when Santa, whose voice I could recognise from somewhere was suddenly called ‘Snowy’ by an older person who was there. Straight away I recognised the voice of Snowy Campbell from the Fish & Chip shop on Broadway. But, in order to carry on the present receiving each year, I thought I could pretend that he was real just in case by not believing I may even become ineligible to receive my yearly little parcels of presents.
Maude & Di Coghlan were always good to us ? who had no relatives in New Zealand. They were like aunties and often included us in events when they were entertaining their neices and nephews. The Roughans, Coglans from Dunollee and Westport, and Mike Story. We five and eight year olds walked some of Boatmans Ck to the Fiery Cross and picnicked there; up to the Terrace mine where we passed Tim Timoko’s hut to the top mines bores where we could look over Reefton and eat our picnic. Maude was a great cook so this pleasure was very enjoyable indeed. We thought we were very high up and Reefton looked unbelievable to a five or six year olds’ eyes. Boatmans Creek just below O’Malleys at Cronadun was also a favourite spot.
Church Events
The Sacred Heart Church has been my place of worship since the 1950’s. As infants we used to sit - stand - and endlessly kneel with Sister Alphousus classes in the right hand side. Sisters de Mountford and Pauls’ classes were on the other side. On a Sunday we were not encouraged to sit with parents, but in front of the nuns where we could be watched. Any wee child not at Mass on Sunday was given the third degree back at school on Monday morning.

Altar rails, the Priest and Altar Boys with their backs to the congregation and of course Mass in Latin were features of the 50’s and early 60’s.

The inside of the church is now completed, those noisy fan heaters were replaced in 1963 and are still there.  The statues and the stations and fantastic stained glass windows remain.
Opening of Community Centre
I remember this occasion around 1956. The Inangahua Silver band were playing on the steps and I can still picture Everet Eager huffing and puffing into the big bass. Little did I know, that I would be doing the same from the 1970’s.

                                                                                                    Swimming Holes
In the 50’s and even up to the present Reefton was considered to be a child’s paradise, especially in the summer. Kids seemed to live in their togs during the summer. A dark sun-tanned body and a pure white bottom was quite a contrasting sight. Lying out on a towel on the back lawn, at the baths and at the many popular swimming holes where people of all ages and shapes would gather - enjoying the water and the company  of each other. There were far less distractions then, no TV or computers, a crackly radio reception, fewer cars, less deadlines. The syphon near the whirlpool was popular among the more adventurous kids who had to bike out to what seemed a long way, especially if you were quite little and on a small bike.

The ‘swinging bridge’ as we called it was always popular among the older boys as many tough ones would jump off the bridge. On one fateful day I went to the Swing Bridge with my brother and mingled among the many people on the small strip of sand, the rocks and in the warm waters of the Inangahua River.
For some reason I went up to the Swing Bridge and was confronted by a much older boy who pushed me off the bridge. I fell onto the sand between some rocks, but first scraped my back on some barbed wired as I went down. I remember Mrs Lee who scooped me up and took me to Dr McKenzie. I got seven stitches in my back and eventually the boy, who ran and hid in the broom, was given a talking to by Constable Murray le Fevre.
The caves, with the island for getting changed in, and the smooth rocks where you could go down the rapids. It was always said that the caves were even better before the rocks were blown up. On the sandy strip of beach it was standing room only among the towels and bodies on a hot summers day.

Other spots where I didn’t frequent much were behind the Brewery, the railway Bridge, and behind the Golf Links (despite this being the sewer outlet) and Blacks Point. The ‘Waitahu’ and ‘Larrys’ were for true adventurers, but the sandflies were a force to be reckoned with. The water was cleaner but  colder
Anzac Day late 1950’s

Walking down Dick and Walsh Streets to the cenotaph, watching the large numbers of soldiers from the Boer War, World War I and World War II was a huge occasion. The Inangahua Silver Band leading the crowd which, in those days, used to line the street from Broadway to the court house on Bridge Street before marching down Broadway up Smith Street, Shiel St, past the War Memorial Hall and a left turn on Walshe Street to the Cenotaph. Community Organisations also lined up and completely surrounded the fenceline of the Cenotaph for the ceremony.

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