1887 - "Old Hand". Memories of the Past: Auckland from 1847 - [Text] p 5-52

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  1887 - "Old Hand". Memories of the Past: Auckland from 1847 - [Text] p 5-52
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I LEFT London at the latter part of the year 1847 in an old East Indian ship, and, after a long passage of only five months, reached Sydney. Fancy five months on the voyage. Why, one can go to London nowadays, and spend a month or two, and be back in Auckland in less time. The principal business premises in Lower George Street, Sydney, near the water, are now occupied by the Chinese and traders dependant on the shipping business, and the present fine buildings were unknown and undreamt of. After waiting some time in Sydney for a vessel to transport goods into, for ships direct to Auckland were unknown, and freight in those times was obtainable for 20s. per ton, we left in a small topsail schooner loaded with horses. The accommodation of this vessel was so small for passengers that one lady had to ask our permission to dress in the cabin! --they wore crinolines in those days, now, happily, a thing of the past. Our captain was a veritable salt, who disdained when on duty, to wear boots and stockings, and used a considerable number of big, big D's with very little ceremony. After a tempestuous passage of some ten days, in which I saw a rougher sea than I saw coming from England, even round the Cape, we reached Auckland, and anchored inside the harbour, just opposite the present Devonport Wharf.

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No wharves, or even houses, with one or two exceptions were to be seen; and indeed, few buildings in the city of Auckland and its suburbs were perceptible. Boats did not ply, and we had to hoist a flag to obtain one to go ashore. We landed at a little wooden wharf, about where the Custom House now stands. Plenty of natives were to be seen, attired only in a blanket, and I recollect being astonished at their physique and the ease with which one of them shouldered my box and carried it into a friend's store for a very trifling payment. The main business street was Shortland Crescent, now called Shortland Street, and the building known as Brown and Campbell's store was then in course of erection. The main entrance from the harbour was up a private lane owned by Messrs. Williamson and Crummer, at one corner of which stood the Victoria Hotel, and on the other a store occupied by Mr. Owen. Queen Street was almost unbuilt upon, and there were scarcely any buildings beyond Wyndham Street, at the corner of which stood the bakery of Mr. Goodfellow. A boat could at high tide be taken up to this store; indeed I once nearly lost the number of my mess where the Colonial Bank now stands. The rotten planks which covered the creek giving way, I did not fall through, for, if I had, I should certainly have been washed out to sea, as it was a stormy, rainy night, and there were no persons about. Fortunately the hole was not big enough to take my arms through. I got a great shock, but I remember I thought that even better than stopping in a big auction store all night with legions of rats. The Maoris used to sing and chant half the night through in their tents and boats on the beach opposite. The townspeople depended mainly on the natives for their supply of potatoes, onions, fish, fruit, &c., and these things were very cheap indeed. I have a lively recollection of my first

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venture in a good feed of peaches. Having purchased a large kit for sixpence--holding probably near fifty; I had rarely seen them under sixpence each at home--I took them to my room, and, in spite of my landlady's advice to be careful in not eating too many, I polished off the lot! with the result that I had to keep to my room for a week.


My first employer did not think I was sharp enough in selling the natives one quality of blanket and tying up another, or in dropping a few sticks of tobacco behind the counter as they were rolled up, or "make a tie," as the Maoris used to say. Those were the palmy days, when some innocent natives were known to put the money down on the counter, and tell you to take payment. That they did not know how to count is certain, for in selling tobacco (negrohead) we used to lay down the shilling's worth in rows, and they would place the coins alongside each bundle.

M-----, the ironmonger, used to, or was said to, lock the Maoris in his store until they did shell out! He used to sell tin tacks by the dozen. K----- used to feed up the natives with buns, &c., and wisely made money while the sun shone. I first opened a small store with a stock valued probably at £20--most of that bought on credit.

I recollect one morning taking a pound before breakfast of a master of a coasting vessel, and going over to a neighbour (Mackenzie, the druggist; I think our only one in those days), and telling him of my luck. He exclaimed, "Eh, mon, ye'll make your fortune!" It was only when the natives were about or came up in their canoes that any business was apparently being done. Blankets, grey sheets, Maori roundabouts for the women, made of gay-coloured prints, immense clay pipes (holding about two ounces of tobacco), cloth caps, and jews-harps were the principal trade.

I well recollect one of the old storekeepers (a well known

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Jew), who was a tailor, and used to make caps out of old coat-tails, la militaire, for the Maori bucks, and got a pound each for them; often the natives waited while he made them. Having but a small stock, and being in the vicinity of several large stores, and being enabled to get to Shortland Street through a cellar, I used to practice a ruse, not unknown even in the present day. I had a large key hanging up, and, when I had not the article wanted, I replied, "I may have it in the store;" and, taking my key, started off to interview my wholesale store--that is, any friend's store --and returned with the article required. I thought nothing of bringing home my auction purchases in my own wheelbarrow and wearing a blue serge shirt; nor do I think people thought any the worse of me. The man who was not above doing his own work was reliable in those days, when the luxuries of promissory notes and insurance were comparatively unknown. It is true we occasionally had war alarms, but I do not think the townspeople ever had really any great fear of the natives. It was the unfortunate settlers in the country who were to be pitied.


It was somewhere about 1850 that we were one day inundated with a shipload of Frenchmen. A man-o'-war having been wrecked on the East Coast, the men found their way speedily to Auckland, where little else but French was heard during their stay. The Government found them in clothing and passages home, the cost of which the French Government repaid. This was in the days of Louis Phillippe. What changes since then have taken place in the Government of La Belle France!


One day a native stole a hat from the door of my store, and, being caught red-handed, was taken into

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custody, and I had notice, with my boy assistant, to attend the Court (held then in a small room in the old Courthouse, Queen Street, --now the the site of the City Hall Theatre). After attending until about 4 p. m. (having to close my store), and receiving a good bullying from the Native Protector Mr. M----- for swearing to my own goods, the native was fined double the value of the hat, viz., 10s. On asking the presiding magistrate (Mr. Thomas Beckham) if I received the fine for my expenses for leaving my business, I was informed, "Oh, no; that goes to the Government. You get justice." I registered a silent vow that next time the thief should get a kick, and I would rest content without justice. The natives were, however, very intelligent, and on one occasion a native woman came in and found my shop lad playing with a set of chessmen and remarked, "You play this? He said, "Oh, yes" She replied, "So do I; let's play." They did, and, to his astonishment, she beat him quickly, and he was a very fair player.


In the early days shipment of goods were usually sold by auction, and no doubt it was very amusing to the auctioneer to see the goods run up, as they used to be, to outrageous prices, 70 to 100 per cent, advance on invoice cost being not an unusual price for goods, and it was not difficult for those who were enabled to obtain merchandize from home to make fortunes, and those who sent the goods still larger ones; for it is needless to say the invoices were often well salted until ad valorem duties were introduced, when two sets of invoices was the rule. One of our earliest traders and auctioneers used to have in his room large empty packing cases, on which were inscribed in letters the names of certain shop-keepers, in which their purchases at sales were thrown, so certain was he of his sales.

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Those who recollect the early days for a long time missed the military element that pervaded the community: the regular night bugles; the marching of the troops and the bands every Sunday to church, accompanied by lots of natives and native women in gay roundabouts; the "All's well" of the sentinels at night all round the barrack wall; and the bugle alarms of "Fire," with the steady sound of the troops at the double, inspiring confidence, for there were no bells or fire brigades. Nor must we forget the severe order of "keep off the grass" in the barracks, and the sentinels stationed to see that you did so.


Those who have now their gas and kitchen ranges, gas lights, and water by turning on a tap, would not have much liked oil lamps (Hobart Town made lamps were preferred), with their daily trimming required and repeated breakage of lamp glasses. Every drop of water had to be drawn from wells. One eminent M. D., who had a druggist's shop up some steps where Chapman's shop now stands, had his well under the counter! Every bit of fuel had to be cut, and we had nothing but camp ovens to cook in. Meat was scarce, except pork. My first meal, I was informed, was New Zealand mutton; it was very white, I noticed, and I found out afterwards that was the name given to pork. Orthodox Hebrews had difficulties to contend with, and must needs have dubbed the pork mutton, or do without meat. There were no insolvency laws, and, if you had a relentless creditor, you would have to stay in gaol a long time to work out the debt. Many a fast-living young fellow had his wings clipped instead of paying 6d. in the £ and commencing again another chain of debt--as can be done now. I think the old system made people a little more cautious, not only those they trusted, but those who took trust.

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Before 1850 everything in Auckland was in a very primeval state--no free libraries for young men, no regular amusement except the billiard-room or the hotel. Very little sociability existed, but food was cheap, and people were easily satisfied. The natives parted with the proceeds of the sales of their land very readily; indeed, some of them were at times so ignorant of the respective coins that they actually could not even count them, or know the difference between shillings and half-crowns, etc. I need not say they were easily cheated. But this state of simplicity did not last very long. They soon learnt to be as cunning as the Pakeha, as lumps of stone in their kits of gum or potatoes, and tapering piles of peaches showed the purchasers. A great deal of mischief was done in this direction by the importation of "Parkhurst boys," as they were termed, who were sent out from home from a reformatory. They soon found their way to the dwellings of the Maoris, who were simple and hospitable in those days, and liked to have a Pakeha in their village. The lazy life suited some of these reprobates, and they taught the Maoris evil words and evil actions.


Few young women, either as wives or servants, were to be obtained, and I well recollect the first shipload of females coming out. Some of them were respectable, but others were--well, very "so-so." When the Rev. M-----, went on board to escort them to their temporary lodgings, they filed two by two after him and his worthy partner; but alas! as they passed the several hotels, various shipmates and friends hailed them, and one by one they 'dropped in' just to see how colonial beer tasted, there were such

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conflicting statements abroad, and when the poor old gentleman turned to look what effect his procession was making on the citizens the girls had nearly all disappeared, but they were gathered together once again, and duly lodged in Hobson Street, which then boasted but very few residences. Two constables were then placed on guard to prevent the near approach of the too inflammable young men (who, on arrival of the ship, had surrounded it at a respectful distance in all the small boats procurable, until allowed on board). But, on the head of the police visiting the locality just to see (ahem!) that the men were keeping due guard, he found they had disappeared inside the building. And, of course, he could do no less than follow to see where they were.


I knew very little of cookery, yet had to cook, and I well remember my first attempt to fry fish. I scaled the schnappers, but omitted the trifling necessity of gutting the fish. Called away to serve a customer, on my return I found the oil in flames. I had filled the fryingpan with oil (the stove was an old nail can) so there was nothing for it but to throw pan, oil, and fish out of the front door. On another occasion I thought I would try my hand on a curry, so I got my saucepan, well filled up with cut meat and potatoes, and opening a bottle of curry powder, emptied half of it into the saucepan. Strange to say, it turned out rather too warm for the palates of my friends who had been invited to share the delicious dish with me, and alas! it followed the fish. In those days there were no restaurants, and unless you could afford to pay the charges at the hotels your cooking was of a very simple character. Many persons kept natives as cooks, and I recollect one day visiting a friend, who told me he had some fine soup for dinner, and asked me to stay, which I did. Strolling about the premises (waiting for dinner) I found the cook attending the soup, which was

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contained in a three-legged iron pot. The cook was stirring the soup, and every time he drew out the spoon he gave it a lick. My friend was astonished that I didn't care for the soup. This was in my "salad" days. I grew to be less particular afterwards, and learnt to ask no questions, and to keep out of other people's kitchens. In after years, when I kept house and servant--a Maori boy, female servants being unobtainable--I had to expostulate with Robert, who was a really good lad, as to why he didn't wash himself oftener. His reply was characteristic: "Taiho, Sunday." The natives, particularly the women, were very anxious to emulate the Pakehas, and would often stop my wife, and after saluting her would take the liberty of feeling her dress, and asking "How much?"


Lengthy passages were the rule in the early times. In 1853 I was 28 days going to Sydney in a brig, and we were glad to be able to find food from the cargo of potatoes. What we should have done but for this cargo I know not, as usually these traders were not victualled for more than about 14 days' passage. In 1850 native produce was very cheap, as much fish as you could well carry for 6d., and potatoes, onions, peaches, Cape gooseberries were a drug. The natives were very friendly with the settlers, and wars, I believe, would never have arisen but for the land quarrels with the Government. The natives were always very stolid, and rarely expressed wonder at the Europeans' work; but I recollect taking James Tautari (a well known and very intelligent native trader between Auckland and the Bay of Islands) to see the railway in Sydney, where he was on a visit. It was the first in these colonies. He did not say much beyond "The Pakeha! the Pakeha!" So little was known by colonials of the railways that a lady from Auckland, who was with me waiting while I purchased the

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tickets, ran down towards the engine, thinking the passengers rode on it! while the servant, who also hailed from this colony, noticing a piece of paper on the telegraph wires asked if that was a message going along the line! Passages to the East Coast were also generally lengthy-- seven days to the Bay of Islands being no unusual trip-- while the cuisine was of a very simple character. Tea in pannikins, puddings made in the wash-hand bowl, and salt meat, of a by no means certain age, formed the usual fare. One old salt who used to trade to the East Coast, Captain J. (all masters of boats were dubbed captains), was one day in my store making some purchases when I happened casually to remark, "Now, you are all right, and will have a lucky trip." Strange to say after that for years he never left the harbour without making some small purchase, however trifling, at my store, with the remark, "Am I all right for a fair wind and a lucky trip?"


In the early days of the Maori war some amusing scenes were beheld, and many who wished to evade or were exempt from serving in the militia formed themselves into an "inlying picket" as they called themselves, or, as others called them, "The lying in picket." They were drilled regularly in the Albert Barracks ground (now the Albert Park), finding their own arms. The short, the fat, the thin, the long--it was laughable to see them drill. And the volunteers were not so well-off as they are now-a-days. Drill regularly was held every morning at seven o'clock --rain, blow, or fine--in the open air, and often did I get wet through, while many got their death at the same practice. But to grumble was only to be called a "feather bed soldier." Many of the young lads, bank clerks, and others were full of zeal, but lacked physical strength for the rough work of camp life, and several had to leave camp,

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and some, indeed, lost their lives. Militia duty had to be performed by those who were not volunteers, and often could be seen shopkeepers walked off by the Provost-Marshal and a file of Militiamen, and kept in durance vile for the night, until they explained to the Military Court the next morning the cause of their non-appearence.


The natives soon lost all their innocence, and were apt pupils of the roguish elements in the Europeans. Publicans and others were prohibited from selling them grog, and part of the fine, if not the whole, went to the informer. The natives sought to entrap shopkeepers and others by seeking to get them to buy for them a bottle of rum or beer, and several practical jokes were played on them by selling them bottles of oil or kerosine at 5s. per bottle, carefully sealed, with which they at once rushed to the police station, only to find that they were sold! But all such verdant bloom has long since been rubbed away.


Book-keeping in early days was occasionally somewhat simple, as what follows will indicate. J----- H----- kept a general store near Smale's Point in about 1850. His ideas on book-keeping were somewhat hazy --in fact, his education had, shall we say, been somewhat neglected. His books were kept not by double entry, but by hieroglyphics. On one occasion, failing to get payment from an irate customer for a cheese he had sold him, he issued a summons, and had to produce his account-book in Court, when lo! a peculiar figure and a drawing of a cheese represented the debit entry. The defendant, being asked what he had to say on the claim, replied, "I never bought a cheese, but I recollect buying a grindstone once." "Dash it!" replied J----- H-----, "I forgot to make the hole in the confounded thing!"

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Poor old Dr. ----- was a well-known character in Auckland in the early days. Being poor, he used to effect his own purchases, and always carried a carpet bag to bring home his two or three pounds of chops or loaves of bread. On one occasion, attending at my house, he asked for a silver spoon, if we had such a thing. On being supplied he replied: "I need not have asked for a silver one, knowing full well I should get nothing else. My children would sooner eat bread and cheese than have meat, if they could not have silver forks." Alas, I fear, it was little silver or gold they possessed. On another occasion he requested the loan of a pocket handkerchief, and omitting to return it, was gently reminded. It was then returned, washed and highly perfumed. On this remarked, he replied: "Oh, our laundress always perfumes all our linen." As a matter of fact their washing was done by his family.


There used to be a notice up in Maori in the Government House grounds that no natives would be allowed in the town without trousers, but the natives did not take much heed, and often on very windy days on the hilly streets, if you met a native in his blanket or Maori mat, there was more seen of him than was required, and although they were fond of dressing like Europeans, and putting on boots (like a cat in walnut shells), no sooner were they out of the town than off came the boots.


One Thompson, who kept an hotel in High Street, used to advertise a lunch off the joint and a glass of beer

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for a shilling, but one man known as "Long C-----, the bailiff," came along one day, and sat down alone to lunch, but when he was gone so was the best part of a leg of mutton, a bottle of pickles, and a loaf of bread. Thompson gave up lunches for a shilling off the joint after that.


How many of us recollect the Patriotic Bazaar, held in the Oddfellows' Hall in Queen Street, now shops, just after the Russian war? Over a thousand pounds were taken. My wife had a stall with another lady, and took some £128. They had drawings for prizes numbered 5s. each, and, when doubtful, used to produce an egg, as a veritable Cochin China, as the 5s. prize. But money was plentiful in those times, and people were liberal. One gentleman, a Mr K-----, from Taranaki, was so pleased with the bazaar that he got up in the gallery and made a long speech, presenting the bazaar with a horse. The late Mrs. Whitaker and others were the moving spirits in this enterprise, which was for the widows and orphans of those who fell in this war in 1853.


There used to be, what even now, after 25 years, we cannot boast of having--bathing machines in Official Bay, upon the present road site. On one occasion a lady was taken out by the man in charge, who was a thirsty soul, with a red nose (these were the days before Salvation Armies were known). After he left the machine--I presume he left for the nearest pub. to get a few more "quenchers." Anyway he forgot the lady, and as the tide came in she become somewhat alarmed, and could be seen frantically waving -- well -- a handkerchief. Fortunately the boatman's better half (by several

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hundredweight) came round to look for her good man, and saw the signals, and lost no time in turning out the horse and bringing in the lady. This same man, who had purchased out the original proprietor (the latter having issued quarterly tickets payable in advance), of which he did not seem to be aware, called one day on a lady in one of our leading streets for the fees he considered due to him, and, being slightly elevated, was not satisfied with the explanation given, and to give emphasis to his demands, stood at the door loudly exclaiming, "Didn't I bathe you five times?" to the great horror of the lady and amusement of the listeners.


The late Mr. David Nathan gave a grand ball in his new store, built in 1853, to which all the elite were invited. It was a capital affair, and I recollect Dr. Fischer appearing in a dress suit made of white linen, and very nice and sensible it looked. Poor Hansard, known as the "Dying Schnapper," was there, and his wife and a host of others who, alas, with the genial host and his first wife, have now joined the great majority. I recollect it was long after daylight when it broke up, and as there were no cabs or omnibuses, we looked rather dissipated in our ruffled evening dress and tired appearance wending homeward. I think folks took things considerably easier in oldtimes. There was not quite so much a fight for a living.


Freeman's Bay was a great place for saw-pits, and was quite a country walk in 1853, with Bond's gardens, now nearly covered with buildings, but where wheat could be seen growing. Gundry's garden in Albert Street was famous for its fruit. The old prison and yards could be overlooked from near the top of Victoria Street, while the Police Court

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was to be found in a small room, fronting Queen Street, that did not hold over twenty or thirty people, and that great terror of evil-doers, Captain Beckham, R. M., used to dispense justice with no sparing hand. Who does not remember his fierce mustachios, which suddenly one day, however, disappeared! And alas, the secret was out, his lady love disapproved of them (probably they were not soothing), and they vanished to appear no more. Poor Beckham! How he used to make the timid witnesses tremble, and how the defendants used to hope that he was not suffering from a bilious attack, and had had a good time of it at breakfast. These matters make a great difference even to the most upright judge. Poor Burn, a well known journalist, used to call out when Capt. Beckham spoke at any entertainment, "The just judge!" until he quarreled with him on some occasion, and we heard no more of such cries. But, according to his light, he did the State good service in his time.


The natives used to be available for work, such as chopping wood, carrying, &c., but often acted very foolishly, for they would agree to cut a lot of wood for a specified sum, and often, when half-way through their work, would throw down the axe or saw and run away--very unlike their European compeers. Upon one occasion a lady engaged a Maori to cut a ton of wood. He was loaded with parcels when he came, which he laid down in the yard, and then coolly proceeded to put his arm round her. Much alarmed, and there being nobody within hearing, she at once proceeded to throw all his parcels outside the gate; he followed, and she locked him out. They were very fond of offering themselves as cokees, or cooks, with a knowledge of cooking equal to a baby. But one part they could do well, and that was the eating, not only the remains, but

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all they could steal, a couple or three loaves, with trimmings, being no unusual meal for a Maori boy. Fond as they are of sweets and such things they could rarely purchase them, reserving their money for simpler objects. I had one who was a very good fellow, and allowed his uncles, his cousins, and his aunts to come down with a rush on a visit occasionally and despoil him of all his pay. When dressed on Sundays, with a Manilla hat and trailing ribbons, and clothes a la Pakeha, he would stand in the yard strutting about and admiring himself for hours together.

The natives were always fond of animals, but failed to feed them properly, so that their ill-fed dogs rarely or ever tasted meat, and you could often see native women cuddling a pet pig. It was said they nursed them occasionally when the mother had been put in the oven for "kai."


At one time, I recollect, we had a lot of what may be termed upper crust larrikinism rampant, that sought to equal "Tom and Jerry in London." Knockers were torn off (where they existed), bells rung, door mats removed, and from Newman and Ewen's, at the top of Shortland Street, a large cask of chinaware was coolly rolled down the hill opposite. Fortunately it had some check in the way, or it would have burst in the side of the house, and probably killed some one. This last horse joke put our police on their mettle, and the little game was stopped. I recollect one of their tricks was to remove an old board marked, "To the Cemetery," and place it in Dr. Fischer's grounds, pointing to his residence.


We had few fires in old times. There were few insurance offices, if any, and probably that was one of the

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causes of the fewness in number of the fires. But when we did have them they were generally pretty severe, such as the Government House fire, W. S. Grahame's in Fort Street (any amount of drink knocking about), the fire in High Street, and one or two large fires in Queen Street later.


The old Victoria Hotel, corner of what used to be known as Victoria Lane, where the present Town Clerk had a large store for many years, and also the Caledonia, further on in Fort Street, were favourite houses; and the Wharf or the Victoria was, for many years, with Britomart Point and Grahame's wood wharf, opposite his store, the only landing places for passengers. Goods used to be landed in open cargo boats, the carts going alongside at low tide, and it used to be said that one well known shipowner and importer always managed to get his goods landed first. If a north-easter happened to come on while the vessel was discharging, so much the worse for the consignees, but all the better for the ship owner. He would have got his goods stored, and most likely sold.

What a host of well-known identities used to patronise the old Victoria for their daily drop of whiskey! Many of these men were the founders of this town; men whose word was their bond, and who were ever ready to help a neighbour or to foster an industry or develope our resources.


In the early days our fellow-townsmen were very liberal in endeavouring to foster local industries and develope our resources. I may recall to memory the flax companies and steam-packet companies. Our first steamer was not a very large one; it was built and owned by the late Mr. C. J. Stone. It used to run to the Tamaki, and

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often her passenger list comprised one man and a cheese, or one boy and a bag of potatoes. After we got more aspiring we had the Wonga Wonga, which used to run to Northern ports; and then we purchased a half-share of the William Denny, a large steamer trading to Sydney. She soon, however, left her bones on the North Cape, and with it the cash of the investors. I took passage with her on her first trip, and we were only nine days, which was considered a great feat, although Mr. W. S. Grahame's vessels used to make rapid runs down to New Zealand owing to the prevalence of westerly winds. But the up trips usually took an average of fourteen days.


How many, alas, of the pioneers of this city have crossed the Styx! Let us enumerate a few for the sake, of auld lang syne. The democratic but impulsive Makepeace; canny Alexander Black; little Coolahan, the enthusiastic Irishman; and friend Mitchell, the Scotch Jew; the suave Col. Mould, R. A.; genial Major-General Pitt; Colonial-Treasurer Shepherd, who used to bathe all the year round off the top rail of Wynyard Pier backwards, until he did so once too often, on a very cold day; "Polly Plum," the servants' friend; stout and sturdy Macready, the civic ruler; George, the baker, and steady henchman to Macready, and friend to all good Scotchmen; Strange, of Parnell, and his closet grievances; irrepressible Nicholl, of the Masonic Hotel; Southwell, editor of the Examiner; David Burn, and his pet dogs; Forsaith, of the Clean-shirt Ministry, and now a clergyman; Mr. Young, the Collector of Customs. The two latter are, I am glad to say, yet living; and in congratulating the latter on seeing him so well and looking so young, he replied, "Well, you know, I ought to; I am Young by

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name!" There was an eccentric little clothier of the name of Moses, who was about four feet six inches high, and the entrance door from his shop to his dwelling was made of just his own height--a sufficient hint to visitors. There was another, named Levy, called "Tin Nose"--why, I know nor, unless he was, as I have heard, a tinsmith by trade. He had a son who used to play on the flute, and when the larrikins wanted to annoy the old gentleman they used to say, "Ikey, play the flute for the gentleman."


Amidst the vagaries of our City Board one that gave considerable amusement was the erection of a curious iron building on the edge of the footpath, at the corner where the South British Insurance offices now stand, but known then as Sommerville's Corner (when I first landed it was E. and D. Graham's, drapers). To the horror and amusement of the public this was intended for a public urinal. I need not say it was not there many days. The old City Board were often a source of great amusement to the town folk.


The military element used to enter very largely into public and private matters in the early days. First the 58th and afterwards the 65th, and numerous ships-of-war, made the place gay, and distributed a large amount of expenditure, while their uniforms, bands, reveille, tattoo, and amateur performances, ball parties, &c., tended much to promote business and enliven the town. We missed them much, and their expenditure much more so. Numbers of our worthy colonists are amongst those who came here with the regiments, or are their descendants. The

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pensioners who came out to settle in the outlying settlements with their families also served the purpose of intimidating the natives and giving confidence to the towns-people.


Of late years we see comparatively few Maoris about the town. At one time they were very numerous, and they were pertinacious bargain hunters, who squatted about all over the streets. To a Maori time was of little value in those days. He was quite prepared to spend the best part of a day in purchasing a pipe or a jew's harp, if the storekeeper did not object. The fortunate fellow did not have any "P.N.'s " to prepare for. When his pipe was lit and his blanket wrapped round him, he needed no more. "His foot was on his native heath," &c. His wants were very few, and his occupations were apparently the same. But, as regards appetite, (the blessing often given to the poor so that they may "like what they eat" and denied to the rich, who "may eat what they like")--well, they were not particular. I have seen a Maori cut up a live schnapper and eat it, and swallow a small herring alive without sauce.


Some years ago it was the custom to give the Maoris a free dinner on the Queen's Birthday, which used to take place in Robertson's rope walk building, then situated in Mechanic's Bay. It was a sight for a dyspeptic to see the amount of beef, pork, potatoes and fish an adult Maori could stow away. The practice of giving this treat has been discontinued for many years; I suppose because we no longer need to propitiate them, and partly because there are so few living near the city. Clothing and food of every description is now easily obtainable close to their own homes.

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That is no doubt partly the cause why we now see so few of them; also, a market for the sale of their produce and gum is found at their doors, and they do not need to pikau, or carry, their produce to town.


How we miss the Maoris as cheap vendors of fish, potatoes, peaches, apples, onions, oysters, pippies, Maori mats, kits, shawls, shark's teeth, and greenstone! and good hands they were at a bargain; so much so that it is currently believed they are the missing descendants of the lost ten tribes. Certainly, some of them have very strongly marked Jewish features, but in other respects they are unlike the Hebrew nation. For instance, they are rather fond of pork and all other kind of meat. They are not particular to trifles in that line. And, while speaking of the Maoris, I may mention that the natives used to bring quantities of tuis, or parson birds, into town for sale or barter. Now these and other native birds are seldom seen,


Alas, how has the New Zealand potatoes degenerated! I recollect that when in Sydney on my way out to the colony, --10 years since, being told, "You will have a treat to-day. We have some New Zealand potatoes for dinner;" and, indeed, they were like huge balls of snow. But now what are they? It seems, however, pretty much the same in all the colonies. For some years the virgin crops are wonderful, and then, unless the ground is heavily manured, they degenerate. It was the same with the Hobart Town, Circular Head, and Waratah potatoes; for a time they eclipsed all others. Cargoes of both potatoes and onions were sent to California from New Zealand. Money was thus made--and, let me add, also lost. Some splendid

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large fore-and-aft schooners used to trade from San Francisco, sailing like witches, with an enormous spread of canvas. We do not see them now-a-days. The steamers have replaced them, and one often wonders what has become of them.


The cooking apparatus used to be very primitive in old times, the camp-oven and three-legged iron pot comprising the outfit. The former is still largely used in the bush, and, indeed, with care, food may be very nicely cooked in it; but I well recollect a lady having a good cry over her first experiences, and for some time she would burn her fingers and gowns in lifting off and on the lid to see how the joint was progressing. The iron pot is necessary to the natives, but the "copper Maori," as it is termed -- steaming the food on red hot stones, when covered with earth--is far preferable; and, indeed, fresh fish or game is most delicious when cooked thus, particularly if you possess that useful sauce, viz., a good appetite. Alas! no more shall we enjoy a good feed of the small shell-fish and potatoes cooked in the hot springs at the Lakes when on a visit to the Terraces, guided by Sophia or others. All such pleasures are, I fear, things of the past. Now all is prosaic and humdrum, the pleasurable excitement of roughing it is past.


Our annual regattas are not what they used to be 25 years ago. The great interest taken by the Maoris, their canoe races, with their enthusiastic rowers, are but memories of the past. How excited they were, and how they paraded the street and wharves in their best mats and finery, finishing up the evening with the war dance, when the cheers and hurrahs of the successful crews could be

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heard from their tents half the night through. It is terrible tame now in comparison. Probably we have not the means or the inclination to make holidays what they were in the days when worries were less. I ought to add that there were rumours occasionally that our native friends were not quite ignorant of European dodges, and understood the art of mutually arranging matters, so that the stakes given by the high minded Pakeha could be "pleasantly" divided between the various crews. Such are among the blessings of civilisation. Verily "knowledge is power."


Those who recollect the early racing days will recall many a pleasant day spent on the course on Potter's Paddock, at Epsom. The military officers took a very active part in promoting sport, and racing was then not quite such a business as it is at present. There was no totalisator or other machine for losing or winning money, and the love of gambling had not quite permeated the community as it does now. Families of good standing were glad enough to go in a dray with straw or mattress on the bottom of the cart, and a good summer's day outing was enjoyed with less cost and probably with more real pleasure than at present. Poor Henry Hardington, who died lately, was for many years clerk of the course, and cut a great figure in his red hunting coat. His genial manner made a host of friends, and tended greatly to making the races a success and the sport enjoyable, without any of the head and heart aches that now generally follow a race day


The flourishing little suburb of Devonport and its environs made little show thirty years since, and the best sites of land were nearly all divided between four or five

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well-known families, whose descendants are now in good circumstances and much respected. Cross, afterwards the pilot of Nelson, was the first signalman, and was succeeded by the late worthy Mr. Duder, who for so many years informed us of the arrival of "our cousins and our aunts," not omitting our letters and supplies. He is gone. We have his sons still amongst us, but they have not to rough it quite so much as their parents and all old colonists had to do. Another well-known old salt (Tom Landers) now bosses the flagstaff, and long may he reign! The North Shore, with its dock, its batteries, an bathing facilities, easy of access, should have an era of prosperity before it. It only requires to be made as attractive as possible, with a good water supply and efficient drainage, to ensure its becoming the most fashionable and best frequented suburb of the city.


The convenience of cabs and omnibuses were at one time, not many years since, almost unknown. The first to ply for hire were, I think, known as the Albert Cars, introduced by Mr. Crowther; somewhat lumbering vehicles on two wheels, with one horse, but were considered a luxury when first used. The gold fever, however, soon placed us on a level with other large towns in the colony. In Sydney the hansom cabs predominate, and you can get a long ride there for a shilling. It is true there are not quite so many hills, but we ought to be able to get as cheap conveyance here, horse feed being obtainable at low prices. Let us hope it will not be long before we do. All alike would benefit, and we should not see so many vehicles standing idle or lounging about the streets unemployed.


Young colonies are very elastic. Some of us have

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seen many ups and downs. How little one hears of the old hands or pioneers! A few remarks in the daily Press, and they are almost forgotten, except by those near and dear. Governor-General Wynyard, the genial host and soldier; John Williamson, the hard-working choice of the people; James Naughton, of the police; Johnny Sheehan; W. J. Hurst; plodding, honest Wilson of the Herald; Dr. Nicholson, and a host of others, who have passed away and are almost forgotten. Well, it will he the same with us, and I suppose in these young colonial towns it will be so for many years to come. The pioneers did the colony good service, and their names are worthy of being recorded elsewhere than simply on their tombstones.


Though we were very primitive in those early days as regards accommodation for votaries of the Thespian art, yet we were exceedingly fortunate in being able to see and hear some very good actors and actresses; and in the first theatre, in Victoria Street East, we used to witness some really first-class performances, which were, taking into consideration the lack of materials, &c., staged in capital style. Amongst the company who were wont to enliven our evenings and "accept" our entrance money about this time (they were known, I think, as the Hill Company) was Harry Jackson, a wild, harum-scarum fellow, who could spend more money in a week than he could earn in a month, and who afterwards made a reputation as a good comic actor in London. He was a very good-natured, liberal sort of fellow--too much so in fact; his wit and humour were the best qualities he possessed. There is one story concerning this same Jackson which it is a pity my readers should miss, unless indeed, as is frequently the case, they have read or heard it before, either as it is or in

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some disguise or other. However that may be, it appears that on the eve of the occurrence of a fancy dress ball Jackson was accosted by a gentleman whom I will designate A. (who was known to be careless about his personal cleanliness), and the topic of conversation of course was--the ball. "Well," said Jackson, "going to the fancy ball, A?" "Oh, yes;" replied A. "And look here, Jackson," he continued, "I want your advice. Can you think of any dress that I can get cheaply and quickly, and which will yet be a complete disguise?" "Why," rejoined the other, "yes. Look here, A., I have it; you take my advice and put on a clean shirt. Nobody 'ill know you!" "Ha, ha!" laughed A., not perceiving the sarcasm, "capital." Then suddenly being seized with a suspicion of the truth, he turned and demanded, "What the devil do you mean, sir?" but Jackson was away. Several actors who made their first appearance in this colony were afterwards very successful in England, and Jackson was amongst them. In the early military days we were treated to some good acting by the soldiers and their officers, the only difficulty being that there were no ladies obtainable, so that the delineator of the blushing heroine was often some smooth-faced young fellow whose size and somewhat awkward gait caused hearty laughter, while "liberty men" who were present from the man-o'-war then in port were not very particular as to their remarks on both play and players; especially when the house was crowded, and these gentry took up their quarters among the cross beams in the roof, where they probably enjoyed themselves more than if they were sitting in the ordinary seats. Certainly one could laugh at the tragedies and cry at the farces! Anyway, we were easily satisfied-- so all concerned wore alike in that respect

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What a little Emperor, at one time, was a bank manager; say, for instance in the days of Mr. Kennedy, of the Union. How he ruled us and the commercial community, and how imperiously he stamped the footpath with his wooden leg. I recollect, one occasion, how eccentric Sandy McK-----, being (as was somewhat usual) a little-well-a little "jolly," pursuing Kennedy, against whom he had a grudge, and threatening to "turn him over." No very difficult task with a man who had a wooden leg. Sandy was persistent, and Kennedy had to take refuge in a store and hide himself behind the counter until Sandy could be got rid of--at no time a very easy task, and on this occasion especially difficult.

There was also genial Mr. Olliver, of the Oriental, which merged into the New South Wales Bank, succeeded in the management by Mr. Woodhouse, formerly partner in the firm of Woodhouse and Buchanan, wholesale importers. The latter I am glad to see still in the land of the living. He is one of our oldest Masons, and one who has wrought the Order good service in his time. I must not omit pleasant Mr. Matson, of the Australasian Bank, who, if he couldn't give you all you asked, couched his refusal in very courteous terms. For banks are capricious, and that "instructions from the head office, sir," so often quoted, has caused more than one tradesman to have the opinion that banks are always ready to help when help is not wanted, but will do little or nothing when it is required.


In the early days we had not quite so much trouble over the licensing question, and an hotel was a sure means of making money; but it is not everybody who likes to be

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at all hours at the beck and call of the public. It is true, a monopoly was made of the business at one time, and I do not think there were many more drunkards on Monday morning than there are now, having regard, of course, to the proportionate population. I was one day sympathising with my neighbour, who "ran" a "pub" on the new law coming into force to close the public houses on Sundays. He replied, "Oh, I like the closing system best. When you are open a man spends 3d., and hangs about the place all the afternoon, but when there is a difficulty in getting the drink he will take three times as much, and clear out quickly." So you may perceive human nature was very much 40 years ago what it is at present, and my story has a moral worthy of the attention of our teetotal friends. Mr. H. N-----, who once kept a "pub" in Shortland Street, opposite the Post Office, got so stout that his doctors told him that he must either take plenty of exercise or the business would kill him. "Oh," he replied, "if I leave my business I shall be robbed." So he had to make his choice. As time rolled on he elected to sell out, and did so. Strange, but true, how often it is the barmen make fortunes, while the proprietors, who are often absent, make nothing. Something in the beer, I suppose. Anyhow, I give up that knotty question.


Certainly in the early days of the colony we had more confidence in each other; fewer bills or promissory notes were in existence. Fires and "bolting," it is true, occurred, --but not very often. We hadn't the luxury of many banks, insurance offices, carriages, &c., but our payments were more prompt. No man was ashamed to do his own work, or to carry his own auction or other purchases home, --and the lending to or assisting of a neighbour, either with cash or otherwise, was a common occurrence,

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but as we increased in numbers we became luxurious. I know I had a mild awakening. A neighbour borrowed 80 sovereigns of me one day, to be returned "honestly" in a week; but when the time arrived, alas, he had gone on a trip to the Islands, and to this day I have never seen my money. It was a dear experience, but I think most of us who have reached the fifties are apt to think that all experience is costly.


Severe restrictions some time existed in trading with the Maoris, at other times these were relaxed. No guns, axes, hatchets, flints, powder, etc., could be sold, but our native friends made use of wax matches instead of caps, and soon learnt to make gunpowder, although it was a very coarse stuff. Several importers made lots of money by importing guns and other ammunition and selling them to the natives in defiance of all legislation. Whether they kept the money they made is another matter; as a rule, it is easier by far to make than to keep.


What a lot of talk, fighting, writing, and trips the water supply question in its time gave rise to. For a long time there was the battle of the Nihotopu or Western Springs, and other schemes, needing all sorts of reports and visits. This city is no little indebted to its first Mayor for the ultimate carrying into effect the obtaining of a water supply, which has been repaid by the success of the undertaking. On one trip I recollect, poor Macready could not be out of the fun, so accompanied the Councillors and others, but when he got there he could not ascend the ranges, and so had to stop at the foot and take care of the kai. In fact, he agreed to take "the report as read," but when we returned

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he was fast in the land of Nod, having sampled the refreshments just to see that all was O.K. Our religious member H-----, got a little lively on that occasion, and on the way home was singing as jolly as a sand boy (however jolly that may be). I suppose it was the lemonade--it used to be very strong in those days! Few who are here to-day, and enjoying our good supply, may recollect our troubles from the want of it--the numerous fires, the unwholesome wells, from the near vicinity of the closets, the scarcity of bath water, the payment for street watering, amounting to as much, in some instances, as 5s. per week! All this, thank goodness, is a thing of the past, and those who fought the good fight for us and our children should be remembered with gratitude.


What progress in many ways our city has made, more especially since 1869 and the inauguration of the corporate body! Who can forget the scoria footpaths and the discomfort of walking on them, the numerous gullies and the deficient drainage? Now we have miles of asphalt footpaths, both in the city and suburbs--or at least what were once the suburbs. Few towns in the colony have improved so fast, having regard to its formation, and notwithstanding all the abuse levelled at our City Council, they have done good work, and made their mark in their time, when our leading men were content to do a citizen's share by attending only to their own business! Amongst the events that are, I suppose, almost forgotten, was the laying of the foundation stone of the Supreme Court by the Superintendent, Sir F. Whitaker. The landing of the Duke of Edinburgh, and the levee, I well recollect. He took little notice of the enthusiasm that was shown. The foundation stone of the new Market by Mayor Philips, the opening of

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the waterworks supply by Mayor Prime, are all events of importance to us, as marking our progress and advancement. May the cloud that at present hangs over the colony soon be passed, and returned prosperity enable us to lay the foundation for many more requirements still existing.


Captain Casey was a worthy old sailor, well known for his good heart and dry humour. I recollect upon one occasion he came round to ask myself and wife to an evening party to meet Mr. and Mrs. Moriarty, from Sydney. He said, "I have come to ask you to come and crack a few nuts with us this evening," and, as he was leaving, added, "Oh! by-the-bye, here's a note I was to give you," which turned out to be the invitation. One afternoon a lady accosted him on board one of the North Shore ferry boats, and asked him to give a contribution to the Destitute Home for Children. "Certainly," he said, producing a large canvas bag, and offering five shillings, with the remark, "Now, I believe one gets credit in Heaven for such gifts, don't you?" "Well, if you ask me candidly," remarked the acute lady, "I do not think any credit is given for less sums than half-a-guinea." He was immensely tickled with this reply, and immediately made his donation up to that amount. He never forgot that answer, and was very fond of telling the story to others. He was a genial, whole-hearted man. Let us hope he sleeps the sleep of the just.


What a number of fevers and depressions have we passed through and felt, and no doubt those who live long enough will see a repetition, although there are many who doubt a revival in the price of land again ever being

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possible. When a few fine days come, do we not forget the rain, and vice versa when it rains several days? --all the fine weather is forgotten; and so it is with land fevers. Let prosperous times come again, and all our caution is soon forgotten, and we bite once again. An old friend was telling me the other day an instance of how valuable property was occasionally acquired in early days. Major B-----, of the 80th, was leaving for India, and, on settling up his business with his agent (Mr. W-----), the latter was somewhat dissatisfied, stating that he done a lot of work for little or no pay; whereupon the Major drew out of his pocket a title deed, and said, "Here, accept this as a gift. I am not sure whether it will ever be worth much to you." It was, however, the deed of a property fronting Queen Street, and not long since some of it realised over £200 per foot. I remember, in 1851, purchasing land next to the present Mutual Provident Society's offices for £1 per foot, and selling it shortly afterwards for £2, and thought I had done a good day s work; and yet twenty years ago suburban and country land was worth as much, if not more, than it is at present. The fluctuations in the value of land in these colonies are incomprehensible. When Captain ----- gave the property at the corner of Queen and Shortland Streets to the Church people as an endowment, I think he had little idea of what would become its commercial value. Too much land is already locked up in trust for matters over which the public has no control, and into whose affairs daylight never penetrates. In a century hence the objects for which it was given will be forgotten, and the governing families will possess.


A number of these are amongst the departed. Even the old names have not been retained, with one exception,

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the Victoria. The Russell Wine Vaults, now lawyers' offices (from bad to worse), the William Denny in Queen Street, the Trafalgar and Caledonia in Fort Street, Dennett's Hotel foot of Wyndham Street, have all made way for better buildings; and even the most thirsty admirer of bars must admit that our teetotal friends have done the public good service, if it were only insisting upon a better class of houses and accommodation for the public. Moral: There is good in all things in moderation, although I believe our mutual friends don't admit this.


Hotel accommodation in the country districts was very primitive in the early times, and in some places is much the same now. Years since, while visiting with an elderly friend, who was not long out from the old country, some settlements in the North, we came to a hotel, and, being very tired and hungry after our long journey, my friend remarked, "Well, now, the first thing to get is a pair of slippers, so pray, ring the bell." Rut there was no bell to ring; and, when the feminine proprietor appeared after several loud calls, she said, "I ain't got no slippers." So, then, my friend elected we would have a chop and a cup of coffee; but there were no chops or coffee. Well, then, either steaks, eggs, fowl, fish, or toast; but all in vain. "We've got some salt pork and tea," she said, "but we ain't got any milk or butter." To my friend's discomfort, for he was a non-believer in pork, he had to be content with tea and damper. His refusal to eat pork, I told him, reminded me of the story of the captain of the Hull steamer, who, being asked how he liked to carry Hebrew passengers, replied, "Oh, first-rate, when there are plenty of them; they are so d----d particular what they eat that they take little or nothing." Having a prejudice against

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the same food, I recollect, in very early times, being served with what looked very white meat; and, asking what it was, was told "New Zealand mutton," and it was some time before I was undeceived.


A young friend, a visitor from Sydney, aged about nine, came running into my parlour, saying, "Oh! here's a furniture-faced man wants something." He meant a well-tatooed Maori. I recollect as far back as 1850 seeing the Maoris playing chess at one of the Government ball entertainments, and they were no mean adversaries. The natives were highly amused with the glass tumblers and bottles, imitations of being half-full of wine or stout, and which, if shaken, showed an appearance of a frothy head. They were a long time making it out.


Old A-----, an eccentric old fellow, whose reading and writing--well, had been, say neglected--in his early days, was upon one occasion requested to sign a Government receipt form for some coats supplied to native postmen. He declined on the plea that he had sold for cash, and how did he know but the postmaster might write "I. O. U. twenty pounds" over or before his signature. He might have been a relative to the man who thanked God his son could not write, because he could not then commit a forgery. So much for small mercies.


Old hands, of a necessity, have seen many Governors come and go, few, perhaps, more than the writer. Grey twice, Gore Browne, the genial, the suave Bowen, gentlemanly Fergusson, bluff Normanby, proud Gordon, and

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our present worthy representative. Some were famous for their hospitality and some were much the reverse. I recollect at one party at Government House, a friend and myself went to the refreshment room and took a glass of wine, &c. My friend remarked, "What wretched stuff," and, to his horror, found the Governor at his elbow, who suavely remarked, "I hope you will excuse any shortcoming; Lady ----- has been too ill to look after matters for some days."


Auctioneers are generally a jovial set of men. How many have left us! Pollock, Joseph, David Nathan,, cheery Connell, Ridings, Hansard ("the dying schnapper"), Collins, Sam Cochrane, Tonks. Stannus Jones is still alive, living in France. All wielded the hammer to good effect, and will long be remembered by the old traders and business men.


We owe to Russell, Bay of Islands, a lot of our leading old colonists--jaunty Pollen, Nathan, Barslow, Mitford, Clendon, and many others. At one time 20 to 30 whaling vessels might be seen at anchor, drawing their supplies and disposing of their whale oil and American trade goods,, while the missionaries and settlers sent up fruit and fish. At times the latter was so plentiful that it was used as manure on the lands. Poor Vilcoq, a Frenchman, was a leading merchant. He died in our Lunatic Asylum. Cook, the baker, and the genial Captain Bolger, hailed from the Bay. Dr. Ford was well known as a medico and respected as a man. On one occasion, being out for a stroll in Russell late in the afternoon, we determined to pay a visit to an old acquaintance, the celebrated chief Tamati Walker and his wife. On going to the door (it was

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just dark), we knocked, and somebody said, "Haere mai," and we opened the door, to find the room in darkness, save for an old-fashioned night lantern with big holes, which were reflected on the wall. In one corner was a bed, in which were the old couple. Tamati sat up, and his and her tatooed faces, in the peculiar light, made rather a ludicrous scene. The worthy old fellow and his partner are now in a better land. Russell has a fine harbour; it is a pity it has not gone ahead more. Going one day to Manawara Bay in a large boat with natives rowing, good sport was obtained by the Maoris with a line and shell hook, catching kahawai. The line was fast to the boat and passed round the toes of one of the rowers and towed astern. Suddenly the rower would stop rowing and catch hold of the line, jerk in a fine fish weighing 5lbs. to 8lbs., and then drop the line astern again.


What enormous and wasteful war expenditure look place. Imagine hundreds of wheelbarrows and chairs made up and sent out (not packed) in ships at £3 and £4 per ton measurement; bales of blankets and tarpaulins. The latter lay stacked in the open air, and the oil oozed from them. Thousands of spades and shovels were piled in Britomart Barrack stores, sent out loose, and afterwards shipped home in the same manner at about the same rate of freight, and probably on arrival condemned and sold for almost nothing. With such commissariat arrangements, was it any wonder the New Zealand war was a costly one!


What wordy wars there used to be in the ancient times between the Southern Cross and the New Zealander papers. Now all this is changed, and it is "our worthy contemporary," and nobody will tread on the tail of the other's

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coat, but even this is for the better. Certainly our Parliament representatives have not improved, for in our first Parliament men like Domett, Stafford, Fitzgerald, Gisborne, and others have not been equalled, and free education has not as yet caused us to excel them. Let us hope it will yet do so.


We often hear amusing stories of what happens to those who visit the great capital for the first time on business pursuits. One importer who visited London in 1849 called at a wholesale warehouse to purchase goods, and asked to be shown some samples. On being asked his name and for a reference, he produced his cash bag, and replied, "Cash is my reference!" but was astonished to receive the reply, "We shall be glad to do business with you, sir, but we never do so without references," and he had to acquiesce. Another visited a palatial establishment, asked to see the principal, and on being shown into the counting house, introduced himself, and stated that in making his purchases he liked to deal with the principals.

One of the firm replied, "Really, Mr. -----, I should be quite useless to you, for I have not been through the departments for the last twenty years."


Sandy Marshall, Sandy Black, and Sandy Dingwall were three well-known old identities, who were worthy pioneers. Two of them have joined the great majority, but the latter still lives and looks as cheerful and well as he did twenty years ago. Long may he flourish!


Fishing--more particularly rod fishing--used to be much more in vogue here than it has been of late years.

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The increased traffic on our wharves, and the noise made by the extensive steamer traffic has frightened both amateur fishermen and the fish. Besides, Mrs. Grundy has now taken up her residence with us, and what was considered at that time not out of place would, I expect, now be thought low. Our Hebrew friends used to be great hands at fishing on Sundays, and were usually very successful, rarely going out on an excursion, or taking a stand on the wharf, without bringing home a kit full, sometimes more than they could well carry. The Messrs. Keesing and other old identities were invariably lucky. Perhaps one reason was that they usually studied the tides, the weather, and their fishing tackle, all necessary to make fishing a success. The military officers used to be fond of this sport, but they were lucky enough to be able to get a lot of the men to do all the pulling, and whether it was up beyond the Watchman Island (now, by-the-bye, getting much less in size), Wood's Island, or the other end of the harbour, they were all able to find out the best fishing grounds. When Fletcher and Solomon had the old flourmill on the Beach Road (now a tobacco factory) in operation, the waste bran and material thrown in the sea used to attract myriads of piper, or gar fish, and with high tide, a good rod, and a gut line, a skilful fisher would land ten or twelve dozen in a couple of hours--not the little things we get now drawn in the nets, but the size of half-a-dozen such. It is funny how some people misunderstand the love of fishing, and its pleasant results in a basket of nice fresh fish alive, -- and a good appetite when returning home. One friend of mine used to remark, "Well, I would not take all the trouble you do. I always catch my fish with a silver hook!" meaning that he always purchased it. I suppose he thought we fished for the mere sake of catching fish, often welcomed with a very bad grace, for "Mary Jane"

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strongly objected to be called on to clean fish at unearthly hours, and threatened to give notice to leave if she was expected to do such nasty work! so that the catch often had to be given away. Some friends have mistaken motives of kindness. Hearing of the fine flat fish, or plaice, obtained from the Thames years ago, I asked a friend to send me up a few on some occasion, and one day accordingly I received a message-- "Fish on board the Enterprise; please send for." I did so, and found a case holding about 150 fine flat fish; but, as it was summer time, it was indeed a "white elephant," and I had at once to get one or two of my boys to hasten round to distribute the gift among my friends, for half-a-dozen supplied our requirements. One day, fishing on the wharf, an old gent who stood alongside of me, not long from the old country, remarked proudly, "Do you see that rod? Well, that has come 15,000 miles." I, of course, expressed my astonishment, but I often wondered whether he remembered that all our fishing rods came from the same or greater distances. Fishing one day from a boat alongside of the wharf, with an elderly gentleman--a relation, also a new arrival (who certainly was not used to small boats), whilst intent on the line I was sensible of a rocking motion, then silence, then suddenly a voice from the water, "Don't make a fuss, help me in!" To my horror, I found he was holding on to the sides. With some trouble I got him in and ashore, but that was the last time he ventured to go fishing in a small boat. One friend, who would be astonished if he was called selfish, used always to relegate all visitors or new hands to the bow of our boat, arguing that it was the best place, while he had the stern clear for his lines. But the visitors used to find that their lines were not cast in pleasant places, and caught under the boat; also that the fish generally were scarce in that locality. They grew wiser

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as they went more frequently, and would no longer monopolize the best place, but insist on the other having it, or at least sharing the worst, to the astonishment (real or assumed) of the unselfish (?) one. Poor Fletcher, who kept the flour mill I have spoken of, was a good fellow, but rather too speculative. Solomon (his partner) was a jovial fellow, the life of a Masonic Lodge or an officers' mess. He now resides in Fiji, a prosperous lawyer. "May his shadow never grow less!"

Q. C. E.

Years since, when our Hebrew friends were much exercised over some congregational disputes, and had advertised the establishment of another place of worship, the town was at the same time placarded with large posters with the letters "Q. C. E.," which nobody understood. I was passing a group of military officers, when one exclaimed loudly, "What the devil is the meaning of these bills--Q. C. E.?" "Oh," replied another, "something to do with our Jewish folk." I believe, in reality, it was a preliminary notice of the establishment of a restaurant well known in its day, meaning "Quality, Cleanliness, and Economy." Visiting this establishment on one occasion, I was standing looking at the various tables before taking my seat, when one of the proprietors came up and asked me what he could do for me. I replied, "Oh, I was looking for the table with the least soiled table-cover to sit at." He replied, "Oh, you must not be particular to-day; we always have clean table-cloths on Friday!" I remarked that I preferred them every day.


Sir, --In your issue of Saturday, October 8, Old Hand, in speaking of the theatres, says: "The first

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theatre was in Victoria Street East." This is not correct, as we had two theatres previous to that one. The first theatre that Auckland possessed was situated at the corner of Queen Street and Vulcan Lane. It was built by a man named Stewart, and the actors and actresses included the celebrated Buckingham family, and the Misses Smithson, who resided at that time in Wyndham Street, nearly opposite where the Herald office now stands. The second theatre was in High Street, next the Osprey Inn, and running right through to O'Connell Street. It was called Thompson's Theatre. Here I witnessed the first panorama that came to Auckland, namely, the Duke of Wellington's Funeral, with moving figures. I have also seen some heavy pieces performed, i. e, "Pizarro," and one or two of Shakespeare's plays, which I have forgotten. The members of the company included Messrs. O'Brien (pupil of G. V. Brooke), Tom Hyde (a man who assisted to drive the first pile of the Queen Street Wharf), Kemble, Willis, Stringer, Tom Harrold (scene-painter), and Rossiter, who performed on the cord volante. The ladies names were Mrs. Symons and Mrs. Trafford. On Sundays this theatre was used as a temporary place of worship by the Independents until such time as their own chapel was erected in High Street. Now, I will have a word or two to say about the Victoria East Theatre. The above place of amusement was built by Mrs. W. H. Foley, and the time occupied in erection was only about ten days. The theatre was only open three times a week--Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The scenery was painted in the Register publishing office, at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. One of the nights when I was present there was a real play on the stage--a wordy warfare-- between Mrs. Foley and Mr. Southwell (afterwards editor of the Auckland Examiner) relative to his part in the

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"Rough Diamond," the former insisting that the latter did not know his part; the curtain was lowered, and after a lapse of about a quarter of an hour, the play proceeded without a hitch. Some short time after this Mrs. Foley sold out her interest to Harry Jackson, one of the company; but it was found that he could not meet the bills when due, owing to bad houses, so he was incarcerated in prison. When brought up for examination he pleaded infancy, and was released. He did best, in my opinion, as Jem Bags in "The Wandering Minstrel," and Wormwood in "The Lottery Ticket." The theatre was then closed, but reopened after a brief interval, with an entirely new company, who arrived from Sydney, in the Bremen-built brig Algerine (Woodhouse and Buchanan, agents), and opened with a piece called "Fraud and its Victims," the after-piece being "A Prince for an Hour," Miss Annie Batwell sustaining the character of Prince Lorenzo Medicis (of the Tuscans). The lessees were Messrs. T. S. Bellair and Walter Hill, and the company included the following members: Messrs. B. N. Jones, Harwood (for some time proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Melbourne), Varley, Stewart, Walcot, and several well-known amateurs. Amongst the ladies were Mrs. Walter Hill, Mrs. Bellair, Miss Annie Batwell (afterwards Mrs. B. N. Jones), Miss Emma James (who became Mrs. Harry Jackson in course of time). I forgot to mention in its proper place that Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Craven (now of London) played one night--the piece selected being the "Serious Family," Craven assuming the character of Captain Murphy Macguire, which, it is needless for me to say, was a decided success. Your correspondent "Old Hand" is also in error with respect to the military theatre in the late Albert Barracks. He says ladies' characters were taken by gentlemen. I have been there on several occasions, and always found ladies playing their

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own parts. What about Miss Fisher? Did she not act in the military theatre in such pieces as I am about to quote, viz: "The Wife, or a Tale of Mantua," with David Burn in the title role; "The Mutiny at the Nore;" "Luke, the Labourer;" "Rory O'More," with Tony Mullins playing Mr. Devilskin; "Woman's the Devil," with Johnny Gallagher (afterwards of the Commissariat Department) in the leading character. The place was always crowded on a command night--that is, when Colonel Wynyard was present, and the splendid band of the 58th Regiment.

Before closing I should like to add the names of a few pioneers which "Old Hand" has omitted to place on record, namely: Mr. W. H. Griffin (who worked hard for and succeeded in getting the eight hour movement an accomplished fact), Mr. Jerry Waite, Peter Grace, Tom Murphy, and William Bacon, all giants in their way, especially at election times. Peace to their ashes. Thanking you in anticipation, I am, &c.,

October 15th, 1887. Molesworth Street, Wellington.

[Mr. W. Smith is in error in stating that ladies' characters were invariably taken by ladies at the Military Theatre in Albert Barracks. Individual instances may have occurred, but the rule was that men took them. Mr. Smith states that I have omitted to mention some deserving to be named. May I add he has not given me time to do so. Nevertheless, I am glad I have "drawn" another "Old Identity."-Old Hand.]


Freemasonry is an old-established institution in our midst, from the days of Cooney, who, with others, obtained the site known as the Masonic Hotel, in Princes

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Street. F. W. Merriman, the jovial lawyer, always ready with a smile and a jest, and a host of others who have passed away, are still remembered both inside and outside the lodges; and in the days when the army was here, the officers formed an important element in joviality and good-fellowship.


How well at one time we were supplied with sailing vessels, trading to Sydney and other ports. The business is now monopolised by steamers. Many a fine boat was launched in Mechanic's Bay from the site of the present Union Timber Company's premises. The Moa, Mankin, Raven, and others, now lost or broken up, did good service to their owners. The old steamer Hero was a fortunate boat for her owners and the genial Captain Logan. I recollect some years since being one of many others celebrating his one hundredth trip by a dinner held at the Auckland Club premises, to which he was invited by the citizens and friends. Long may he flourish with the Union Company, and live to celebrate another such anniversary, which cannot be far off!


"When the Post Office was at the top of High Street, and letters had to be called for, what a rush took place, on arrival of the English mails more particularly! Those were the days when it took nearly twelve months to get a reply to your correspondence. How often the remittance man would take up his place in the single file, and worry to get to the letter-box, only to get the reply "No letters!"


Lots of smuggling used to take place from whalers, both at the Bay of Islands and in Auckland. Small craft

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owners cleared out with a box of tobacco--the empty box, though to all appearance full, returning with it really so; and, when they sold it, kindly offering to open it, and asking for the box--just for firelights! One person once landed a lot in a cave not far from Auckland, and, when he went to get it, lo and behold! it had disappeared; but he had to be silent and put up with the loss -- some of the men employed had no doubt taken it. Whalers would come ashore looking very stout, and return on board grown perceptibly thinner after their short but profitable stay on shore. A master of a Bay of Islands trader once pointed out to me a cartload of apples being landed, and jokingly remarked, "There's lots of tobacco among those apples, I can tell you." Whether this was gasconade or not, I cannot say, but I think it was quite probable that smuggled goods were concealed.


Forty years since were the times for the lucky trader who had facilities for getting goods from London or the adjacent colonies, 100 per cent, being no unusual advance on invoice cost, the invoice often being, as it is termed, "well salted." It was then hardly a question of how cheap you could get an article, but could you get it at all, and, if you did not like the price--well, you would have to go without.


One often thinks what has become of the fleet of native vessels we once had trading from the Bay of Islands, Mongonui, and the East Coast. Certainly, after the war they became fewer, and the speedy communication by means of steamers did the rest. Jimmy Tautari, the popular Bay of Islands skipper, was as decent a fellow as

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ever existed, and was well liked by all who took their passage in his boats--the Napi, Sea Breeze, &c. He, with many other worthy colonists, sleeps "the sleep of the just;" but, as pioneers, they are not forgotten. He was reared and educated by the Church of England missionaries, and did them credit. Indeed, the Northern part of the colony was much indebted to these missionaries and their good work.


Amongst our lawyers all old hands will recollect Conroy, Bracey, Merriman, Berry, Beveridge, Wynn, Hughes; and medicos, Drs. Davis, Matthews, Dalliston (who died in Japan), Nicholson, and others. The origin of Dr. C. Fischer's success as a medical man is probably now known to a few. Stone and Langford's store, at the corner of Shortland Street and Old Victoria Lane, was heavily stored upstairs with wheat or oats, and the flooring gave way. Mrs. George Graham was in the place at the time, and was buried under the bags of grain. She was carried out quite insensible, and taken opposite to Dr. Matthews' druggist's shop (where Miss McLaughlin's shop now stands), in Shortland Street, and after examination, was given up by the medical men. As a last resource, some friends urged that Dr. Fischer, who was a new arrival, should be called in. This was done, and after some time he succeeded in bringing her round, and she lived for some years after. This event, however, made Dr. Fischer's reputation assured.


The late Rev. Mr. Churton, Church of England minister, was another well-known and respected worthy. Often have I seen him on dark and stormy nights, with his candle lantern, going about the poorest parts of the city;

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and I recollect his coming into my store, when newly built, with an apology. He said he thought he had been in every house in Auckland, and warmly was he welcomed, for he had a kind word and good advice for all, regardless of their faith.


Early in the fifties trips to country districts were rather rough. Journeying upon one occasion--we had elected to go on a visit to Howick for a few weeks--we had to hire a dray and put a feather bed in it for the ladies and children to sit upon. I recollect it took nearly the whole day to get there. Then, all our ideas of country life were rudely dispelled. Butter, milk, or meat had either to be obtained from town, or we had to take our chance of a sheep being killed. Fortunately, fruit was plentiful and cheap on account of the difficulty of sending it to a market. I recollect that insects were plentiful, particularly fleas.


An "old time" storekeeper was rather fond of experimenting in the direction of economy, or--well, adulteration. He once bought a lot of split peas and roasted them, then ground and mixed them with coffee, and invited a friend to test some new coffee he stated he had "just received but, to his horror, after being well boiled, the coffee poured out thick, a la pea soup! Upon another occasion he was one day at work in his factory, when a well-known, witty Hibernian passed, and, looking through the window, said, "Well, Mr. -----, what are you making now?" "Tomato sauce," he replied. The questioner glanced round the room, which was half-full of large pumpkins, and replied, "Well, I never saw tomatoes so large as those you have here!"

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Bishop Selwyn (the elder) was a man who looked every inch a gentleman, with indomitable will and energy. His countenance alone gave confidence, and his utterances would impress any faith. He practised the tenets of true religion as well as preached them. Then there was genial Bishop Croke, who was both enthusiastic and witty, and endeared himself to all classes of the community. When presenting the prizes to the school children he had a very pleasant and witty remark for each, and he will long be remembered by the citizens of Auckland with respect and esteem.


In concluding my first series of reminiscences, I must thank some kind correspondents for the flattering confirmation of the accuracy of my remarks and their impressions of pleasure at their appearance. It must be remembered that they are all culled from memory, and not from any records. I hope on some future occasion some further reminiscences may be acceptable to my friends your numerous readers.


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