memories  1960’s . . . . .  page  7
BY  tony fortune

In the early 60’s, I used to help my brother to sell race books, about a day or two before the races. We would walk along Broadway, or even cycle the streets, calling out “Racebook! Racebook!”, in a singing tone. On the afternoon before the morning of the races, the keen sale boys would bike out to Waitahu bridge. The cars had to slow down or stop, as it was a single road/rail bridge then. Sometimes they would go to the top of the Reefton,to sell their books to  race-goers from all over the Coast. As well as sales, quite a few tips and lollies came our way.
As a kid in the early 60’s, the races themselves were exciting enough, but I was very much a ‘people-watcher”, observing the excitement of the race-goers during each race-jumping up and down, yelling and screaming for their backed horse. Afterwards they would stream to the totalisation board to check the form . Women’s race day fashions included bright dresses and big hats. The highlight was buying a tub of snowflake ice-cream, and using the wooden spoon to scoop a mouthful out of the greased, cardboard container.. 
As the 60’s drew to a close, the fashions changed considerably. Trilby hats became less common among the men, and everyone was more casual. I obtained a job on the semophor board in 1968, and worked there until 1992. I wondered if anyone noticed that I wore the same bright orange tee shirt for every race. I was always going between the semophor board and the old wooden secretaries office, to get the names of the riders and jockeys. In doing so I was running across the track - hence the bright coloured tee shirt. Wally McNabb, with his impeccable writing, was a man I would go to to get the names of the horses for each race.

I was rudely awakened by a loud jolt, and the sound of the bedroom door slamming shut. Then a thunderous roar, and shaking like I’ve never experienced before. It seemed to go on forever. The noise was terrific. Apart from the roar, crashing noises were heard as chimneys fell onto iron roofs, and the groans of the houses. Once we could move, the family gathered in the passage near the front door, as the rumbles were continuing. We opened the front door - everything was in darkness, as it was at 5.30 in the morning. My mother 

said:”Maybe it’s only us?”, thinking that that the house had fallen off its piles! As each rumble and quake was coming from the north, we thought the people in Inangahua or Westport might be worse off than us.
After quite some time,standing in the passage, we inspected the other rooms with a torch,to discover soot all over the sitting-room. In the kitchen there were empty cupboards and a glassy/gooey mess on the floor. We all went back to bed and endured the after-shocks, until  it got light and suddenly it all went quiet. I hopped on my bike to see what damage  had been done to the shops. Gibellini’s was my first stop, as I was a delivery boy there. The shelves were mostly empty, with cans covering the floor behind the long counter. Other shops in Broadway were in the same state. Schools were closed. The ground, at times, was like jelly, with 
regular aftershocks, some big, others small. Over 300 shakes, over the next few days,were felt. Evacuees from Inangahua were arriving. Helicopters began to land at the college grounds and the forestry camp became the Civil Defence 

Members such as the three Newcombes(pictured), Clarrie, Coxall, Bert Barrett, Colin Hannah and a young Wayne Murtha were just a few of the members of the Reefton Volunteer Fire Brigade in the early 60’s.
The old fire station built in 1913 with its tall Bell Tower, where the siren and bell sat side by side, was nearing the end of its life.                                                                                                Plans were well underway for the building of a modern concrete block structure on the Gladstone Hotel site. In what seemed like a short time,the new fire station was built.  

Page: << Previous 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 Next >>

Damage to the Rainbird house. Peter Bolton

lived in the house at the time, he ran out on to the street, it was his first earthquake

Inside Broadway Supplies