memories  1950’s . . . . .  page  6

The changing rooms were of a wood construction with signs reading “Boys” in one room, “Men” in the other, “Ladies” and “Girls”. Especially for some in their teenage years, this bought a little confusion of when to use the “Mens” changing rooms.

Initially, the baths were filled regularly with water from the river which made the water a beer brown colour, but eventually a fresh water well provided a clear, but very cold, supply of water. With the painting of the baths in blue they looked quite sparkling. School swimming events were popular as were the occasional carnivals.

The small baths, called the babies baths, was always warmer than the larger pool. Most had their theories as to the reason.

Asian Flu, 1957
As a five year old I don’t remember too much about this epidemic. I remember walking home in pouring rain one day and standing on the corner of Dick and Walsh Street talking to Suzanne Rainbird, Patsy Topp and Margaret Etheridge. About 100 metres away was my house where I saw my mother coming to get me and telling me off for standing in the middle of the street making the girls laugh. It appears that I already had a cold which soon developed into the flu. Apparently, half the kids in Reefton had this flu. However, worse was to come for me. One night I was breathing heavily and making gurgling sounds. Dr Heaphy was called for and within thirty minutes of him seeing me I was whisked away to Reefton Hospital - I can remember being carried inside, the large round bright lights above me passing me by. I was to remain there for a week. I can remember Irene Caldwell as a young nurse looking after me and Mrs Flack trying to get me to eat. Once I went back to school Sister Mary Theophane met me at the classroom door, told me how sick I looked and sent me home again!
The large hill fires around Reefton

Holmes Hill, before the road to the lookout was constructed, and the reservoir hill were often a blaze of smoke and fire in the 50’s. Either one hill or the other was the target of an ‘accidental’ fire. I remember in 1958 both hills were on fire from end to end with the smoke in town like pea soup  The small remnants of native bush seemed to survive in the gullies. Houses in Rosstown and Bridge Street were on evacuation alert on occasions.
BY tony fortune

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