I should point out that most of the aspects of "What we did" are from my own personal experience or knowledge. I make no excuses for items not covered. Maybe YOU have some information you would like to provide?
Amateur Radio, sometimes known as Ham Radio, was around before Government licensing of the hobby was introduced in 1923. Kaikorai had at least as many amateurs proportionally as any other suburb, and maybe more. The initial license required not only the ability to send and receive Morse code at 15 words per minute, but a pass in radio theory and the regulations of the day. While the technology has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, there are still great numbers of amateur operators throughout the world who enjoy this pastime. Modern amateurs communicate around the world not only by direct radio link but also via amateur satellite and many of the modern modes of operation.
See more including a Map showing locations of Kaikorai amateur operators over the years.
Baths up Frasers Gully
These were opened by the Roslyn Borough Council in 1912. They were fed from the waters of Frasers Creek (or Stream) via a small dam just above the baths. The dam is still there although the baths ceased operation in September 1950 due to the state of neglect that had eventuated. They were subsequently filled in with household refuse.
See more under Frasers Road Baths
Bicycles - see at bottom of page under 'Railway Tunnels & Bicycles' and 'Work after school'.
In the late 1920s my father and his friend operated a boxing school from the Kaikorai Presbyterian Church Hall and the basement of the Maori Hill Coronation Hall.
See photograph and list of 1927 class and 1928 class.
In the mid 1940s, before breakfast, we used to walk down to Maclaggan Street via City Road to visit Mackintosh Caley Phoenix. We would take with us either a clean pillow slip or flour bag for the purpose of collecting broken biscuits for a modest sum. It always paid to be there early to get a share of the sought after chocolate biscuits as some people tended to take more than a fair share of these instead of taking whatever the scoop picked up. Needless to say, a reasonable sampling of the goods was made as we trekked up the hill on our homeward journey. View 1923 photograph of Phoenix Factory
You'll remember all about these as they are still being manufactured as they are a Kiwi Icon. Click here for a picture of 'Buzzy Bee' and find more on the Buzzy Bees History - web site.
The band at the Kaikorai Primary School was popular with the boys and there were more wanting to be part of it than there were instruments. I was fortunate in that my parents supplied me with a bugle that had been handed down through the family. The band played for drill and assembly and as far as I can recall also did a street march around the block once a week. See more under Kaikorai School Band
I recall walking up Frasers Gully with my parents and family, sometimes also with Aunts as well. We would walk up towards the last of the more or less flat walking track and cross a bridge over the creek. This as I understand was a cleared area at the bottom of property belonging to 'Sontags' in Brockville Road. There were a good number of apple trees on the hillside above the picnic area. We were of course told NOT to venture up the hill where these trees bore fruit! "No Mum". Nuff said - as they say. Then slightly further up the track was the sand 'cliff face' where everyone and their uncle carved their name or initials - it was the accepted course of action.
See also Frasers Road Baths and 'Lobsters' further down the page.
The 25th Dunedin Company of the Girls Life Brigade started at Kaikorai Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Captain Margaret Gilchrist on 22nd December 1948. Her Lieutenants were Lorainne McDonald and Myrtle Black. See more under Kaikorai Presbyterian Church with photographs of the girls.
Going to the Pictures
In the 1940s going to the 'movies' was a real treat. However, Amalgamated Theatres Ltd instigated the 'Chums Club' at some of their theatres around the country and we had one at the State Theatre in George Street. There was a membership fee, not remembered at this stage, but you did get a badge and your name went on screen if you had a birthday that week. The club was run on Saturday mornings from 10am and we could gain ourselves extra money for an icecream or lollies by walking to and from the venue rather than using the trams or cable cars. Click to see Chums Club badge.
Hanging off cable cars
After the cable cars were introduced back in 1900, they proved very popular as a mode of transport. They travelled at 7.96 miles per hour, that's 12.8 kilometers per hour. They were novel and especially popular with schoolboys who would hang off the straps along each side - a somewhat perilous task when hanging from the side of the car passing in the other direction. Of course all this came to an end with the closing of the line on Friday 31st July 1947.
Click to see people riding the cable cars.
| Hula Hoops
|| Hula Hoops were all the rage for a while. The object was to sling the hoop around your waist, give it a starting spin and make gyroscopic body motions in an attempt to keep the hoop revolving about your body.
The object of the exercise was to keep the hoop from dropping to the ground through lack of revoluntionary speed. The person who managed to keep the hoop circling for the longest time was the winner (obviously).
| Kaikorai Brass Band
Not much to hand so far except this photograph from the Otago Daily Times 29-9-2007 of the band 100 years ago.
See separate page on Making Kites - with pictures on how to make one for yourself.
Catching fresh water lobsters in Frasers Creek. This was one of the things boys used to do up Frasers Gully. I'm not too sure what we did with them, if anything, but do recall turning over rocks to see what was under them - mostly finding nothing.
Making Crystal Sets - part of what we did in the 1950s. View a selection of circuits from old books on this page. Make one for yourself just for fun.
Making Kites - with pictures on how to make one for yourself.
Making Pompoms - using wool and milk bottle tops
Making Telephones - from tin cans when we were children.
Making Trolleys - now a forgotten art for today's children?
Stilts - see down the page a bit.
Playing at Nairn Street Reserve
Great use was made of this amenity for those of us with bicycles. A good meeting place as well and in younger years there were still a good number of apparatus to use. Currently there are just the swings and 'monkey' bars remaining.
See 1950 playground view and 2007 playground view.
Pompoms made using wool and milk bottle tops
See separate page on Making Pompoms.
| Railway Tunnels & Bicycles
In the late 40s and early 50s it was 'cool' to ride your bicycle down Kaikorai Valley Road, then through the old Caversham tunnel to the other end. It was very dark and wet inside and our cycle lamps were pretty well next to useless as I recall. However, it was something we did in the weekends when it was fine. We also cycled to Brighton and occasionally managed to afford a ride in one of the row boats or canoes for hire.
Click to see Caversham Tunnel photographs and further information.
See more on bicycles in 'Work after school', near the bottom of this page.
Spinning Tops & Gyro Tops
Do you remember the various types of toy spinning tops?
Check here for more details.
Stilts were generally something made out of any handy size lengths of wood and a block secured to it by a couple of nails generally. The workmanship often left a lot to be desired as the blocks would invariably break off after a couple of attempts at getting yourself 'mounted', then attempting to walk a few steps. See my sketch at right.
| Visit Santa at PixieTown in the basement of the DIC building at Christmas. Those animated little pixies have now been restored and are proudly displayed at the Otago Settlers Museum.
Work after school
Work after school was a good way to get 'pocket money'. One of the various jobs I worked at was as delivery boy for the Roslyn Self-Help grocery store which was next the the Roslyn Fire Station on Highgate. To this day I can still remember the smell of ground coffee and the bacon rolls hanging up in the shop. But I digress - to get on with the delivery of groceries to customers: the most memorable event while carrying out this work was attempting to ride the delivery bike down Erin Street while it had a load in the front basket consisting of a bag of flour and a bag of sugar. With a small wheel at the front and a large one on the rear the centre of gravity moved considerably when facing down hill. The front became heavier which raised the rear wheel off the ground and made the whole frame revolve around the front wheel. The net result was two bags on the road as well as myself but unscathed as I recall. This was a lesson learned. Click to see a delivery bicycle.
Other thoughts: Sack Races, Egg & Spoon Races, 3-legged Races, Knuckle Bones, Peashooters, Spud Guns, Bows and Arrows still require information.
I might add that searching the Internet for 'Spud Guns' these days only produces the modern? version which fires whole spuds, oranges, or what ever else will fit in the barrel!
I do remember a friend from secondary school days who made a crossbow from a cut-down Austin 7 leaf spring. It required the wire for the bow to be wound back on a ratchet before hooking it onto the trigger mechanism. It could shoot an arrow right through an empty 44 gallon drum!!!! (might have been a rusty drum?) It was dismantled shortly after that for obvious reasons.
Click here to e-mail Alan if you have any comments.