Recollections from John Park


First, a brief profile:     I was born in Dunedin in 1941, elder son of Ralph and Joan Park. Ralph and his four brothers attended Kaikorai School (roughly between 1898 and 1919) before going on to Otago Boys' High School. Initially we lived at Green Island--Ralph was teaching at Green Island School--until we moved to 12 (now 28) Garfield Avenue, my late grandparents' house, in August 1946. I attended Kaikorai School from then until the end of 1953, and memories of those days are still very vivid.

In response to your question, yes, Samuel Morgan Park (1861-1946) was my grandfather. My grandmother's name was Annie Penelope Maxwell (1872-1944). I can scan the receipt for the purchase of the property for the website if you'd like it. The area was officially known as Stewarton. I know something of some of the residents listed, but perhaps, since the street is over the hill from "The Kaikrie" (which is what the Park boys used to call it, apparently--not sure about the spelling), you might not want as much detail. Certainly, after moving to Garfield Avenue, in my childhood, the school and the shopping area was the centre of our world--we didn't have a car so it was cable car, and pretty soon bus, or walk everywhere. We always referred to shopping in Roslyn, as "going up to the village to get the messages." John Park
1. The construction of the Stuart Street Extension.
When work commenced, and well before the bridge was started (built by McJorrow Brothers--who, I seem to recall, went bankrupt over the contract), that down the bank from the gap where the two houses and the shop were removed on Highgate, were uprooted rhododendron trees and (presumably) the debris from the houses shops in the form of boards, window frames, almost like whole rooms. My brother Ron, James Rutherford (a John McGlashan day boy about a year or two older than me, who lived in a two-storey house--still there--opposite Columba College) and I spent a wonderful afternoon clambering in and around the site, I guess about 1951/1952.

Further down the cable car route, at much the same time, I can remember felled trees littering the abandoned Moana Tennis Courts (where the pool is now).

2. The Kaikorai Bugle Band and route marches.
One of my Kaikorai School photos has several of my classmates in their band uniforms. I seem to remember the bandmaster was a local man, Mr Dickie.

When I was at Kaikorai School, on fine days after an outdoor assembly on the girls' playground, the bugle band would lead the whole school on a march. The route of which was out on to Wright Street, by way of the back entrance to the school, past the incinerator, which was always smouldering with a smell of burnt uneaten bread and other material from school lunches and the airy cupboards in which the school milk crates were stored to keep them out of the sun. (The janitor in my years was Mr Donaldson). Then around the corner into Tyne Street (still trying to keep in time to the drumbeat) up the steps via the memorial arches (boys on the left, girls on the right) up the steps in front of the stone building and back into the girls' playground for dismissal.

But on the last Friday morning of each term, the march route took in Roslyn Village. Emerging from the Wright Street entrance we would turn right into Highgate, and march past Fifield and Selkirk Street, past the Post Office, and then turning into City Road. After somehow negotiating (this bit's rather hazy!) the present Stuart Street (was it then called Taieri Road?), returning to the school playground past the school gymnasium, via the back entrance between the Lodge building and the Church of Christ.

These longer route marches were popular occasions with the locals and shopkeepers coming out to view our procession. John McIntyre (headmaster while I was at the school) would admonish us to march with backs straight and heads up--"You won't find any money on the ground, you know!" An urban legend (or maybe it really did happen) tells that one sharp-eyed fellow disobeyed the order and found a ten shilling note in the gutter.

3. Garfield Avenue
We lived at 12 (later 28) Garfield Avenue. The original name was Garfield Street, as shown on the 1902 map, but by 1913, as shown on that map it had been changed to Garfield Avenue (and never had a tree planted anywhere on the roadside!)

That's all until next time. John Park
See also separate page on Roslyn School of Music Miss Tui Hutton, teacher of music.
4. Oysters
In the early 1950s my father would sometimes send me on a Saturday morning up to the fish shop in "The Village" to buy him some oysters. I would take with me a half-sized preserving jar--the old type which used to take a rubber ring for the seal, greenish glass, with a metal lid lined with white glass--for Mr Downes to put the oysters in. One dozen oysters cost a shilling!
 

Knucklebones

Some recollections of knucklebones. The knucklebone craze hit us in 1953, my last year at Kaikorai School. I remember we played the game out on the playground, inside the classroom on the floor, and even on the desktops. The first set of knucklebones I owned were plastic, and, apart from being about the right size, bore little resemblance to the real thing. Each of the five pieces was a different colour.

The next set was of aluminium--all the same colour--with the pieces being quite a lot heavier than the plastic ones. Playing with this set was much more controlled because the pieces didn't bounce so much. Also this set had a complete list of the progression of activities with it--prior to that I had to rely on someone who knew the sequence off by heart.

The acme of sets, was of course, the real sheep's knucklebones, especially if they had been coloured by dyeing, but even then you had to make sure that they were all exactly the same size. (I still have my real knucklebones set.)

In January 1954 there was a nationwide knucklebones competition, with heats in every city. I entered along with hundreds of other Dunedin children, and our heats were held on the two "Fives" (Handball) courts at Otago Boys' High School. Needless to say I was eliminated early on, and, after watching other more clever children for a while, I spent the rest of the morning wandering around the buildings and grounds of the school which I would be attending as a third-former a few weeks later.

John Park