3 November 1928
Diary of a Trip to New Zealand via New York, Panama, San Francisco, Vancouver
November 1928 - May 1929
- Jane Shaw Thomson (author)
- Edward Allan Thomson (author)
Blue Gum Tree
Digitised by [name witheld].
Saturday 3rd November 1928
Left home at 7am with Ted B and all the children to see us off. Breakfasted in train and reached Southampton 9.45am. Train stopping immediately opposite Aquitania. After inspection of tickets and passports went on board, looked at our cabin, dining saloon, lounge etc., and then were interested watching loading of mail by means of cranes and nets. Saw 1st class gymnasium and swimming pool, empty of water, beautifully lined with blue tiles. Our cabin is nominally a four-berth cabin. Comfortable for two. We can stow away all our boxes under the berths. Our two table companions Mr and Mrs Speer are on their way back to New Zealand after a summer in the British Isles. He is a clergyman. They are also sailing on the Aorangi from Vancouver, but going over land from New York. We reached Cherbourg at 4.30pm and steamed into the fine large harbour, where it took us an hour to load the mails from Spain, France, Switzerland and other continental countries which were brought out by steamers.
Mrs Speer is a New Zealand lady from Whangerei, North of Auckland and knows Stuart Thomson, Malcolm’s younger brother. Interviewed the Chief Steward, also second class Chief Steward, everything done for our comfort and all going well. Weather fine, sea slight and steamer quite steady. We had a nap this afternoon and letters were brought in from Father, Kitty, Lucy Barnard and Alice Fox. Very pleasant to have them. Met Mr Wells on board, Chief Engineer of Union Cold Storage Company.
Wrote to mother, William, Cecil, post card to Stanhope Avenue and several others. Spent a quiet evening reading in library, very pleasant and comfortable room. Lunch tea and dinner quite good, not many people travelling and room to move. Aquitania’s last trip this season then lays up for annual overhaul.
Sunday 4th November
A fine bright morning. Hot baths full of seawater for both of us. Unfortunately Ted had his at 6.45 and I mine at 7.45, a mistake in the calling. Only one bath for ladies in our corridor and four for men. Put our noses out before breakfast. After breakfast sat on the upper deck in the sunshine protected from the wind and wrapped in our rugs, were pleasantly warm. I read and enjoyed “The Bridge of San Luis Key “ by Wilder. The day continued fine and sunny with a calm sea.
Monday 5th November
Not quite so calm but we were still able to sit on deck wrapped in our rugs. Saw two gulls? And wondered what land they were from. A carnival dance in the evening but as we had unpacked all our boxes and left our belongings on our beds preparatory to repacking so as to avoid duty by means of sending one box on board to Vancouver, we felt we could not go to the dance. We all had paper hats and streamers at dinner but people were not very lively. Almost more foreigners than British in second-class and great variety. A large German party very noisy, Dutch, Spanish, French, Polish. Some nice looking little children and some tiny babies. We have a very attentive table steward.
Tuesday 6th November
Still more sea. An occasional wave washes over our porthole. Had a constitutional on deck but did not sit out. At 11.15 we went with Mr Smith, head steward to inspect kitchens etc. and found it all most interesting. Meals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd classes are all cooked in the same kitchens. The kitchens are immense with a staff of 370. Hardly any labour saving machinery is used. All vegetables prepared by hand, all utensils except plates washed and dried by hand. There is a machine to knead the bread and one to cut the dough into rolls. Nearly all stoves are fired with coal. One in the pastry cooks kitchen is electric. We saw all meat, fish and provisions in cold stores. Enough British meat taken on board for the return journey and just kept at 32 degrees, an even temperature. Frozen meat is carried for emergencies. Fresh milk is carried in cans for the single journey and taken on again in New York . There is a kosher kitchen which no one is allowed to enter except the Jewish cook. And kosher meat is carried. We had a talk with the chef and with the head butcher and saw the storerooms for groceries. 10oz of flour is carried per passenger per day. The bakers oven works night and day, baking rolls all day and bread all night. All cooks were very ready to show their own apparatus. It took about 1½ hours to see through it all. In the afternoon I slept soundly right past teatime. After dinner I felt more inclined for bed than the “pictures” but Ted went to the pictures and found them very amusing. Not many in to dinner. The steward tells us there is no laundry on board and as we each have three clean towels and three clean table napkins each day, there must be a tremendous store of linen carried.
Wednesday 7th November
Not quite so rough but inclined to rain. Walked for over an hour on deck. Mr Wells of U C S joining us for some of the time. Ted went to see Mr Roberts, chief engineer and received an invitation to see over the engine room tomorrow at 10.30am, also an invitation from Mr Powell , chief steward, for us both to drink a cocktail with him at 6.30. In the afternoon we sat on deck until it grew too cold. The sea got up a bit. At 6.30 we went along to the first class end to Mr Powell’s room. At first I declined the cocktail but when he told me it was very good for sea sickness I accepted and it certainly stopped my inside turning round for the time being. Whilst we were in Mr Powell’s room we felt the ship go smack against a big wave. After that she slowed down a bit. After dinner we sat in the library till bedtime. Sea getting rougher all the time.
Thursday 8th November
Really rough through the night and this morning. Ship slowed down from 23 knots to 16 knots. After breakfast I felt all right. We went along at 10.30 to see Mr Roberts, chief engineer and the engine room. A tremendous place, twenty-one huge boilers with eight oil furnaces to each. Mr Roberts hopes never to go back to a coal fired ship. It was surprising how few men there were about. Not more than fifty altogether. Mr Roberts says there are 150 and they work in three watches. Everything was remarkably clean and the furnace rooms wonderfully cool. A good current of air circulating. We spent about 2 hours with Mr Roberts. There were very few in to lunch and after lunch I slept and then wrote letters. Whilst we were at dinner Mr Smith (2nd class chief steward) came and said Mr Powell sent his compliments and there was a very good concert at 9.30 in the first class and would we care to go.. So Ted unpacked his dress clothes and I put on my best velvet and silk shawl and we went along. The concert was excellent. There was a very pleasant orchestra, string with two wind. A wonderfully good pianist, Arthur Shadduck – an American and a very funny Yorkshire comedian with such a comical face. We enjoyed our outing and got back about 11pm.
Friday 9th November
This morning we are packing. All baggage to be ready by 10am.
This afternoon we had the great medical inspection, which was nothing but a walk past a doctor with a strong light turned on us. A lovely fine sunny afternoon and we were all interested watching for land, a long low line on the right hand side with an immense mass on it which looked like a gasometer. In the distance we could see the mass of skyscrapers and the statue of liberty, but had to go below for inspections before we could distinguish them at all clearly. After the medical inspection we had dinner – 5.30pm, and after dinner had to go through passport inspection. By this time we were nearly in. The sight of New York lit up is fine, the skyscrapers look like fairy palaces. Brilliantly lit ferryboats are plying from Manhattan to Staten Island, a large residential district. I was chatting to two elderly American ladies, very kindly they explained everything to the best of their ability. I think they were form Boston., they wished we were going to see Washington their finest town. When we said goodbye they hoped we would enjoy their country very much. They had spent a very happy six months in our country and liked it immensely. With the help of seven tugs we drew in to the pier beautifully and as soon as the boat was made fast gangways were put across and the stewards started running off with the luggage. Our steward had promised to get our luggage off as quickly as possible. We stood on the upper deck and watched the proceedings until nearly all the passengers were off. Then we went and found our luggage under the initial T. All our boxes were there except one, our steward saw us and asked how we were getting on and very quickly brought the last box. Ted went and fetched the customs official. Then every box had to be unlocked and the man just ran his fingers through our goods. When he had finished we had locked all up again we got a hefty porter in a blue jumper with a truck and he took all our luggage down the pier accompanied by the customs official who was chewing all the time and Mr Floyd whom the Blue Star Agents had sent to meet us. We had no duty to pay and got away in a taxi with our suitcases leaving our heavy luggage to be sent by “Express” and three packages in bond to go direct to Vancouver. We were easily first away. I think some of the others had hardly started.
We arrived at the Shelton Hotel and were shown our room on the 5th floor of 32. A very nice room with private bathroom and lavatory and telephone. Not dear as compared with similar accommodation at the Cecil but from any other point of view expensive 30/- a day without meals. After leaving our things we went downstairs and saw the bowling alley and swimming bath. Very popular. Numbers of men and women swimming and diving. After looking in at the dining room we went for a walk. Crossing Park Avenue and Madison Avenue we walked down 5th Avenue and had coffee and rolls at “Child’s” restaurant. We were interested watching the regulation of the traffic by means of the coloured lights. There is a long row of lights down each avenue which are alternately red and green, each light lasting for two minutes and as the lights in the avenues turn red the lights in the streets turn green and vice versa. This seems a simple method in New York where streets and avenues are perfectly straight but I do not see how it would work in London. At last we got back to the “Shelton” and to bed.
Saturday 10th November
After breakfast we were out early and took the elevated “down town” to Hanover Square. We walked down Wall Street and Nassan Street to the Tribune Building. We both thought Wall Street impressive with fine skyscrapers on either side and the spire of a church at the end. The sky scrapers are really beautiful, quite a distinct type of architecture. Vestey’s office in New York, Tapman Thurlow is in the Tribune building and there we saw Mr Fielding and Mr Woodworth who both offered anything they could to make our stay in New York enjoyable. As we were rather anxious to see things for ourselves we thanked them very much and said that for the present we were getting along famously. From the window of their office we had a fine view of the Woolworth building, also of the City Hall where receptions of important visitors by the mayor take place. After leaving the Tribune building we went to Battery Place to ask at the New York Harbour dock office for Phil Miller and found that he left New York last July and has gone to Montreal. Next we went to the Canadian Pacific Office and fixed up our trip to California. After lunch at another Child’s Restaurant we went to the aquarium at Battery Point. It is free to the public and very interesting. Practically all the fish come from American waters. After the aquarium we took the subway to 14th Street and from there the bus down 5th Avenue. No tickets are given on either the local railways or the buses. The shops down 5th Avenue are beautiful. Very little is shown in the windows but what is shown is so beautifully displayed that it leaves a better impression than many articles displayed. I wonder whether furs are cheap here. Nearly every woman wears lovely furs and fur coats are numerous, both on men and women. Even little boys have fur collars to their coats. The pavements are crowded but very few shop gazers, everyone moves on. We got out of the bus at Central Park and had a look around without going very far. There is a free menagerie near the gate.
After tea at yet another Child’s we went back to the hotel.
Our ‘express’ luggage had arrived and we were glad to unpack and put things away. We were also quite pleased to stretch on our beds for a while.
We had supper at the cafeteria on the 16th floor. Here as you go into the room you pick up a tray with napkin, knife, fork and spoon on it. You take it to a counter where you select everything you want for supper, then you take it all to a lady at a desk who gives you a bill. Next you find a table where you sit and eat your supper and then pay as you pass out. The idea is to save the service as practically the only waiting is the clearing away of the dirty plates. There are a great many cafeterias in New York and we mean to patronise them. We have spent the rest of the evening in our room.
Sunday 11th November
Had breakfast in the cafeteria where we met Mr and Mrs Speer. Went by elevator to zoological gardens in Bronx Park. A bright sunny day and lovely park. A great many trees in autumn foliage. The animals have more room than in our zoo and more natural surroundings. Admission free. Lunched in zoo restaurant, then walked through botanical gardens to elevator again. Watched a game of football. Quite different from our football. Had tea in a little restaurant in Lexington Avenue. Girl in charge quite interested to hear we were from England. She had visited London. Scones are called biscuits. There is a jar of maple syrup on the table as well as salt and pepper. After tea wrote home, tried for different postage stamps but could only get 1c and 2c at the hotel. Posted letters on our floor, they drop down a glass slot to ground floor. Had dinner at little restaurant and after a short walk came back to our room again.
Monday 12th November
Met Mr and Mrs Speer at breakfast in the cafeteria. After breakfast Ted was busy with the telephone whilst I did some laundry. Went ‘downtown’ by subway meaning to go to the Battery and got taken to ‘Brooklyn’ by mistake, got back rather late. Called on Commander Jefferson of American navy and went with him by Pennsylvanian Railway to Philadelphia to see trial of pulverised fuel plant. Porters and tram attendants all Negros. Mr Jefferson had his shoes cleaned by Pullman attendant in train. All train attendants look very neat in uniform. Had huckleberry pie for lunch on train. Had a very interesting afternoon in American Naval Shipyard examining pulverised coal plant. Met Commander Boushek. Got back to hotel at 8.30pm.
Tuesday 13th November
As Ted had an appointment with Mr Baird in connection with powdered fuel, set off by myself taking 5th Avenue bus along Riverside. A lovely view of the Hudson. Walked some distance along Riverside Boulevard. A beautiful walk, trees, grass and riding track with river below. Immense blocks of good class apartment houses facing Hudson. 2,3,4,5,6,7 or 8 room apartments with one, two or three bathrooms. Good supply of hot water also heat for rooms included in rent but rent extremely high. Refrigerators run off electric supply of house.
Saw Grants tomb.
Walked into Broadway and got lunch. Huge helpings, asked for a slice of cake and got enough for three. Took another 5th Avenue bus going all the way along riverside again down Broadway, 5th Avenue to Washington Square. 10c all the way or any part. Had a look round Washington Square, saw old houses and New York University building then took elevated back to hotel. Got in in time to do ironing and mending before Ted came in.
After dinner in Hotel cafeteria went to see ‘The Gentlemen of the Press’ at 48th Street Theatre. A good play, enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately Ted could not hear enough to gather what was going on. Walked back to hotel and bed. Still hoping for letters from home.
Wednesday 14th November
Went to see California this morning. All looked most comfortable. Officers expecting good weather, then went to see Mr Hoskins, manager of Canadian Pacific. Wonderfully comfortable offices everywhere in New York, plenty of space. Had oyster stew and pumpkin pie for lunch, very good. After lunch called on Mr Orton of Vancouver Oil Company, very kind and anxious to help us in any possible way. Asked us to lunch at Baltimore Hotel and got music hall tickets for us. Went in to tea at Hidden Door. A different girl at the pay desk, ‘thrilled’ to hear we were going to New Zealand. She had been there a few years ago acting in ‘White Cargo’ (Helen Stranski) and had acted in Dunedin. After supper at the cafeteria of hotel went to pictures. Hope to get in to Winter Garden but standing room only. Found Jews in shop next door selling tickets but as they wanted $3 for $1 seats decided to see something else so went to the Roxy where the ‘Red Dance’ was. A most wonderful building. Besides the main picture there were talking pictures, very interesting and singing and dancing in costume, like music hall.
Walked back to hotel and bed.
Thursday 15th November
After breakfast did laundry and wrote letters whilst Ted made a business call. Went with Ted to Biltmore to meet Mr Orton for lunch. Had a sumptuous lunch and pleasant chat. Mr Orton elderly and very kindly. Went to Mr Kennedy’s office 2.30 and went in private car with Mr Johnson (Londoner) through new river tunnel 1 7/8 mile long to New Jersey, expected a run through country but found it all suburbs with a horrid smoky marshland first. After a long run reached a silk mill where a pulverised fuel plant lately installed. Very interesting. Went back to Mr Kennedy’s office where he and Ted had a long talk whilst Mr Johnson showed me little model explaining working of pulverised fuel plant and talked of changes in London. He was very pleased to hear of London. Reach hotel with no time to change before going to ‘Hidden Door’ for dinner and by taxi to Broadhurst Theatre to see ‘Hold Everything’, would have been quicker to walk. Very like London musical comedy, pretty frocks, high kicking and tuneful songs. Many more in evening dress than at 48th Street Theatre. Very clever step dancing by two men and girl.
Friday 16th November
Ted went soon after breakfast to pay business calls, so after I had written some letters I went exploring. I walked down Lexington Avenue to Gramercy Park getting lunch on the way, sampled waffles. Gramercy Park very like a Bloomsbury Square. Moderate priced hotels there. Walked across through Union and Washington Square to Greenwich Village. Think I cannot have been in a most interesting part as I found it disappointing. Got on to elevated 6th Avenue to 50th Street and then searched for a shop where I could buy a pole to hold coat hangers on board ship. Back to hotel about 4pm and Ted in about 5.30. Went to see Mr Deschler, Mr Mitchell’s brother, a dentist in 5th Avenue. Very interested seeing his apparatus, different to English methods. Has his own x-ray and does a great deal of his filling work in laboratory, gets very good prices, £100 for plate. After dinner at Restaurant Savarin – Roast Beef, Sprouts and Potatoes. Ted went to call on Mr Wells whilst I went back to hotel
Saturday 17th November
After breakfast set off for California, Ted first going to bank for more money as hotel bill cleared him out. Saw Mr Hoskins on pier. Went on board and saw cabin and arranged to hire chairs. Were a little delayed setting out as Majestic was passing. Too misty to get any photos, though buildings looked very fine in the mist. Got a good view of the Statue of Liberty. Our table seats are at a table for eight. Mr and Mrs Turk (Los Angeles), Mr and Mrs Richardson(Syracuse NY), Mr and Mrs Schulz from Boston going to Portland. Mr and Mrs Richardson very interesting and amusing, Mr and Mrs Turk, quiet, Mr Schulz interested hearing of England and New Zealand. Only about three other British on board. In the evening there was some dancing in the lounge, we hope to dance when it is on deck, fewer spectating and more dancers. Spoke to Mr Prince Chief Engineer and were introduced by him to Mr Harris.
Sunday 18th November
A quiet day. Sitting on deck most of the time. Warming up. Ted introduced to Messrs Wright and Johnson of Harland and Wolfe, Belfast. A sing song in the evening.
Monday 19th November
A perfect day, just ideal for boating. Saw a lovely shoal of flying fish from my cabin, quite a number of silvery bodies flitting above the waves. During the day saw a good deal of yellow weed on the water, Gulf Stream weed. We must be keeping pretty well in the track of the Gulf Stream. Mr Price says it is so strong and delaying us. In the afternoon we watched them filling the swimming pool. After dark there was dancing on deck. The band played aft, so that tourist and first class passengers could all dance. Some wonderful performances among the tourists. Ted and I have not yet ventured but hope to come to it soon. Chatted to one or two people. A man from New York going with his family to California, a lady from Baltimore loquacious but interesting, she will just love to hear what we think of Havana. Mr Johnson of Belfast has fixed up a party of British, including us, to go ashore together.
Tuesday 20th November
Had a lovely bathe before breakfast. Going to lunch at 11am today before going ashore. After lunch at 11am went ashore in tender. Crowd of assorted coloured men on pier offering to sell us New York papers a week old at 10cents, wanting to drive us in taxis and offering bead necklaces. Our car was reserved so we went straight to it, me Mr and Mrs Trubridge and introduced ourselves. They live in Switzerland, have travelled a great deal and have no children. Mrs Trubridge quite friendly. Exchanged opinions on New York. Set off in car with one other gentleman from California, passing through streets first, then stopped at church and went in. A lovely inner court surrounded by pillared walk, tropical plants, cacti in flower. Wanted a photo but were too close. Interior of church to British minds theatrical and spectacular lighting effects. Went on to see men’s club, all agreed wanted to see no more churches. Men’s club wonderful marble staircase and wonderful ballroom with polished marble floor, domino room, chess room and card room. Saw room where Russian and Cuban chess champions played. Our guide told us Russian could not stand heat and had to give up. Huge billiard rooms with twenty-four rather small billiard tables. Balls nearly as big as tennis balls and a group of tiny white skittles in middle of table, which must not be touched. Tried to get post cards of club but all mistrusting.
Went on through residential district to cemetery. Houses beautiful, hibiscus, bougainvillea and oleanders growing luxuriously. Roses also growing. Beautiful lawns, numbers of palms. Saw coconuts growing. Cemetery terribly depressing, a vast waste of marble monuments, no room for grass, trees or growing plants, most of flowers on tombs dead. Glad to get away. Went along to Bathing Beach but as 20 cents charged to go in to see it no one appeared to be bathing, did not go in. Saw brilliant pink flamingos in artificial pool and took photo. Drove back by Prado, marvellous drive, road for cars on either side with broad raised marble footway in between, beautiful well kept gardens all along, 3 or 4 miles long. Left car in shopping centre. Went with Mr and Mrs Trubridge to get something to eat. Coffee and cakes most welcome. A little difficulty in getting sugar, patent container.
Ted and I wandered about watching people and shops. Got some nice postcards and after some walking found post office and bought stamps. Post office always seems most difficult place to find. Interested in people, all shades. Some very picturesque black girls. Sorry no more films to expose. Got back to tender about 4.45 and so to ship.
Were told that Havana was wealthiest place in the world, certainly looks prosperous. A few beggars.
Started to develop photos as soon as we got on board and after dinner which was very welcome finished. Found Dita’s little clothes pegs, very useful in hanging up films. Went early to bed, sea rough and strong wind. Steward warned not to take out our wind scoop. Did not sleep very well, awakened every few minutes by huge wave.
Wednesday 21st November
Steward tells us that three cabins on our side were swamped in the night. He had spent his time bailing out. Swimming bath not filled as ship is rolling too much. Day overcast with strong following wind. A very heavy shower in the afternoon. Before dinner had a game of deck tennis, good fun. Too rough for dancing on deck. Games committee appointed.
Thursday 22nd November
A quiet day. Torrential rain at fairly frequent intervals. Kept the deck stewards busy removing cushions from chairs. Dancing on deck in evening, interrupted by rain, thunderstorm later. Stewards say they never knew anything like it.
Friday 23rd November
Woke at 6.30 and saw land from porthole. Emigration officers coming ashore. Blue Star ship (Ionic Star) at anchor. Breakfast gong 7.30. Note brought on board from Mr Jones, Blue Star agent in Panama asking us to dinner tonight. Breakfasted while going through first lock then on board to watch. All most interesting. Another ship going through adjoining locks. Saw a group of pelicans flying. No alligators. All grass and foliage wonderfully green. Sight of hills most refreshing. Went ashore about 2.30pm. Met Captain Jones, Agent of Blue Star Line in Panama put us in car with Negro driver. He was too busy with the California to come with us, loading cargo of bananas. He is also agent to Panama Pacific Line. Most wonderful drive. Saw breadfruit growing, also breadnuts, coconuts, paw paws not ripe, bananas.
Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, lovely little deep blue creeper, wild coloured convolvulus. At Old Panama saw tremendous long procession of ants carrying leaves. They had worn a regular path. Schools for white children and black children quite separate, quarters separate too. Every house built on stilts to keep clear of ants. Wire netting at all windows. All wooden houses. Hills beautiful. Stopped at Mirimar Club for tea, had it on balcony overlooking beautiful sandy bay. Delicious tea and buttered toast. Went on to Central Square Panama, looked at shops and bought hats. Sat in hotel waiting for Captain Jones, Captain Roberts arrives. Captain Jones delayed so went with Captain Roberts to club. Sat on terrace overlooking sea chatting. Captain Roberts delightful man. Captain Jones arrived with Mrs, Miss and young master Cummins(?). Introduced to Mrs Wright and Mrs Paynes, delightful dinner beginning with cocktail. Mrs Jones from Wellington, New Zealand. Back to ship about 10pm. Bad news for Ted about Albion Star, may hurry our trip up coast.
Saturday 24th November
A quiet day passing islands during morning. Fine but overcast. More ships to be seen than in Atlantic. Saw porpoises playing in sea. Had a good game deck tennis in afternoon.
Sunday 25th November
Mother’s birthday. All good wishes. We saw engine room with Mr Prince. Extremely interesting. Practically all electrically driven. Stood a fountain pen upright on propelling motor and perfectly steady. Everything wonderfully clean and very few men about. Propeller shaft kept clean by fastening dirty doormat to it and turning of shaft automatically cleans it. Plenty of room everywhere, even Ted could walk erect. Plenty of air circulating, necessary to keep air perfectly dry. Day fresh.
Monday 26th November
Distinctly rough. Cool with a strong wind until afternoon about 4pm. Suddenly into calm sea and hot weather. After dinner sat on board deck with Mr and Mrs Jones and had most interesting talk. He talks freely about household expenses and conditions generally in America. Thinks a young man even getting a third of what he could earn in America is better off in England. Not such a strain. Strongly recommends “America Comes of Age” by Siegfried as giving a very true picture of America. Dollars is the standard by which a man is judged in America. Forgot to say that in the morning a small boy brought a note to me “ Dear Mrs Glasgow, would you come and tell us a Scotch story” Everyone takes me for Scotch. I told three little children aged 7, 4 and 4 the story of the white cat which passed. They were very interested hearing of my little children in England and of Joan who could not swim on top of the water but liked to swim underneath. Little girls name Endocia Jones, of course she not like it. Her birthday in May, just three months older than Joan.
Tuesday 27th November
This morning saw two volcanoes gently smoking on Mexican coast, also saw a turtle swimming quite close to boat. Went and chatted with Mr and Mrs Jones and compared household arrangements and found them very similar. Want a photo of their two youngsters. Most lovely day and near enough to shore watch Mexican coast. Beautiful line of hills. Numbers of flying fish. Had a game of deck tennis against a pair of young folk. They beat us but not too easily. Afterwards went for a cooler in swimming pool. Delightful. After dinner sat on boat deck and enjoyed full moon and dancing on tourist deck. A much younger crowd and some beautiful dancers. Lounge full of serious folk playing a bridge tournament. Thought we saw a whale in morning but not much of it to be seen so doubtful.
Wednesday 28th November
Spent most of the morning with Eudocia on the boat deck, telling stories and talking. Went in to the pool with her at 12 o’clock. Children’s party at 3pm and swimming sports afterwards. Good fun watching, much cooler. Carnival dinner and masked ball afterwards. Some dresses very good. Boy (Bob) dressed as Hawaiian girl. Mrs Trubridge saw him coming into lounge and considered it indecent, any girl wearing so little clothes, quite a long time before we realised it to be a boy. Many more dancing as the evening was cool. Chatted a little to a New York lady. And has no desire to live elsewhere.
Thursday 29th November
Saw galleys of ship. Also cars in hold. I think 63. All very interesting. In afternoon busy writing letters. Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and plum pudding. Concert this evening. Ship’s pianist has been on expedition into Brazil to find traces of Colonel Fawcett. And gave us an interesting and humorous account of his experiences. He was cinematophotographer. Very much cooler.
Western North America
Friday 30th November
Preparing to go ashore at San Diego. Baby boy born in night in tourist section. Chatting to young married woman. She asks whether we are staying a day or two in Los Angeles. Says if we had been she would have liked to take us round and show us some thing of the country in her car. I thought it very kind of her. We do not even know her name. Arranged to see San Diego with Mr and Mrs Jones and family. Lovely day with crisp air. After embarkation formalities got ashore about 1.30pm and took car. Drove through San Diego, saw some of the residential sections, attractive looking houses and well kept gardens but very small. Went on to Balboa Park where exhibition was 15 years ago. Beautiful lawns all constantly watered. Hydrants every few yards. Grass on hills all quite brown. San Diego has to be artificially watered all the year round. Went on through naval training yard to Point Loman where we got a glorious view of San Diego across the harbour with mountains beyond. Went back past Mission Bay and over ferry to Coronado Beach, a long sandy bay with mountains beyond. When we got back to San Diego Mrs Jones and children went back to the boat, Mr Jones with us walked up through San Diego getting a cup of tea at a Dairy Store. Went to bed early.
Saturday 1st December
Los Angeles: Breakfast at 6.30am. After farewells went ashore and took 1½ hours to get through customs. Met Messrs Gilbert and Vernon. Mr Vernon took us for a drive in his car, going past Signal Hill where is a very hick crop of oil wells. We left Ted and Mr Gilbert to talk business whilst we went on and saw residential part of Los Angeles and out towards Hollywood. There we picked up Ted and Mr Gilbert again and went out to see orange groves. We saw great plantations of oranges, walnuts and a few persimmons. Saw pepper trees and wild dates. Came to a district where orange trees and oil wells practically occupied the same plot. Everything artificially watered. Ditches amongst trees filled with water two or three times during the growing season and then ground hoes. Water brought 240 miles in aqueduct and yet water rate about half ours with plenty for the garden. Numbers of olive trees. We passed several rivers, nothing but a broad shallow sandy bed with a trickle of water running through across which children paddled. We passed through best residential district, houses selling at about £10,000. Well-kept gardens with beautiful grass, all unfenced. English and Spanish style of architecture. Caught train at 6pm for Seattle.
Sunday 2nd December
Beds let down and made up in Pullman cars. Pass over mountains through the night. Raining in the morning. Land very flat, pass through great vineyards, vines look like black currant bushes. More orange groves, olive orchards, hop gardens, sheep ranches and pigs, also some cattle. Drizzling with rain, perhaps consequently country looks dull and uninteresting. In the afternoon start climbing going along valley of Sacramento River nearly all the way. To bed early.
Monday 3rd December
Wake up to a sunny frosty morning and country all looking lovely. Coming to the land of fir trees and snow mountains. Fruit crops change to apples, raspberries, loganberries and strawberries and canning factories always near by. Had reindeer steak for lunch but prefer beef or mutton. Had a lovely run by Puget Sound. Reached Seattle in early afternoon, went direct to Olympic Hotel where I had tea with Mrs Gilbert whilst Ted went with Mr Gilbert to see about Albion Star. Glad to get unpacked and settled in.
Tuesday 4th December
A bright cold morning. Busy writing letters and washing. Chambermaid comes from Camden Town and used to enjoy holidays on Hampstead Heath. Went out and did a little shopping, found all shop assistants most friendly and helpful. Went and saw market, all fruit and vegetables beautifully displayed. Prices most interesting, grapes at 2 1/2d per lb. Brussel Sprouts 1/3 per lb, oranges not so cheap as you would expect. Had a sandwich and coffee at a lunch counter, 25 cents. About 5pm went with Mrs Gilbert to her apartment and saw Betty and her boy. Met Ted and Mr Gilbert at hotel at 6pm and went to Shrop’s(?) restaurant for dinner.
Delicious and interesting. A small restaurant finished in homely fashion. Cream washed walls, chintz and muslin window curtains. Windsor and ladder-back chairs. Old fashioned table glass and china. Dinner began with inevitable glass of iced water, then oyster cocktail, tiny oysters smothered in tomato sauce with lemon in glass buried in ice, then cream of cauliflower soup, speaks for itself, then on one plate good serve of chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and shredded cabbage, in a glass, cranberry sauce, on a plate a jellied salad with mayonnaise, in another glass an iced orange sorbet accompanied by hot white bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, all to be eaten as much as possible together. Only William could do full justice to such a meal. Ted went on to peppermint ice cream which I tasted but otherwise I cried halt. All really delicious but too abundant. After dinner we went to a picture show, quite good. Then home to a book and bed.
Wednesday 5th December
Ted went off to the office and after I had done a little writing I went out and bought a map of Seattle and some directions for a tram ride. Then I went out to Woodlands Park, a beautiful park., except in the sunshine the ground was hard with frost and the ice on a little ornamental lake was about an inch thick. I enjoyed a good walk then got on a tram again after amusing experience with the tram conductor. He seemed to think any stupid ought to know how to take his fare, but as methods are different in each town it is a little bewildering. When I got back to town I had a hurried counter lunch of bread and cheese and coffee and got back to the hotel just before Ted. 2.30pm.
Mr Bates had his car and picked us up and Mrs Bates and drove us through the best residential parts of Seattle and to the Washington University. These districts are really lovely. The hills are more numerous and steeper than even in Edinburgh I think. There are three lakes, two connected by canals in the town besides Puget Sound. The ground is left as a park on the borders of the lakes and streets of houses rise steeply from there and the views are just lovely. The park on the banks of the lake, then the lake as we saw it reflecting the evening sky across the lake more of Seattle, beyond that the Olympic Range of hills and just showing through the mist the snowy mass of Mount Rainier. When we came back to town I got out of the car and went into Frederick and Nelsons, a big store similar to Harrods, with Mrs Bates where we had a cup of tea. Then back to the hotel to get ready to go to dinner with the Gilberts in their apartment. Mrs Gilbert gave us a first class dinner and we spent the evening chatting with them and Betty and Archie.
Thursday 6th December
Spent the day by myself. Took the car to Madrona Park and enjoyed walking through the district. Delightful houses built on any little ledge on the hillside large enough to hold them. Many of the gardens left as nature made them, very pretty all overlooking Washington Lake. Now and then a house has been pointed out as being built by one of the earliest inhabitants and when we ask how long ago are told about thirty years. It seems extraordinary that it should all have grown in that time. Ted came in in good time and listened to the very good hotel orchestra. Afterwards he wrote letters and I read “America Comes of Age”, all very interesting.
Friday 7th December
Spent the day with Mrs Gilbert in her rooms, chatting, knitting and sewing. Broke my knitting needle so took it to a plumber to get it soldered as Mrs Gilbert is quite sure I would not be able to buy one in America. Went with Mrs Bates and Mrs Gilbert and our husbands to Swopes for dinner meeting Captains Mills, Mitchell and Riley, one from Wales, one from Scotland and one from Ireland. After a tip top dinner went to the Ice Arena to watch a hockey match between Seattle and Vancouver. Wildly exciting. A terribly quick game.
Saturday 8th December
Met Mrs Gilbert with Betty and Archie at the Orpheum Hall for a children’s symphony concert. Conductor Karl Kring. Most interesting. Afterwards had lunch at Frederick and Nelsons then went to see Old Curiosity Shop. Extraordinary collection from all parts of the world including a mermaid. Spent afternoon packing and in the afternoon went to Mr and Mrs Bates house for dinner. A beautiful typical American house. They showed us all over it and it was most interesting. A great many conveniences. An oil furnace for central heating in the basement. An electric laundry. A shoot for soiled linen on each floor direct to basement. Cupboards in each bedroom for clothes. Afterwards we spent a lively evening playing “Boodle”. The Gilberts came in after dinner.
Sunday 9th December
Mr Bates took us and the Gilberts a lovely drive to Smoqualine Falls. We went through lovely wooded country east of Seattle with beautiful views of hills. The falls were a grand sight. A tremendous fall of water, higher than Niagara, supplies a good deal of Seattle’s electricity. We had a delicious lunch at an inn at the head of the falls. Ate red currant jelly and honey spread on buttered scones with roast chicken and pickles with soup. After we had seen the falls the weather turned wet, but on the way back to Seattle we saw through a trout hatchery and saw the trout in stages from egg to two pounder, most interesting. Mr Bates drove through pouring rain and left us at our hotel about 6pm. We went out later and had a ‘hot dog’ for supper.
Monday 10th December
We wakened at 6.30am by telephone. And on the train to Vancouver by 8am. Mr Bates and Mr Armstrong there to see us off with a box of candy. We were glad that we had sent candy and roses to Gilbert’s and Bate’s. A slow journey to Vancouver but very lovely, mostly on shore of Puget Sound. Very cursory inspection of baggage by customs officer at White Rock frontier town. Mr Lester of Dollar Line to meet us with car. Sent all our larger luggage direct to ‘Aorangi’ to save customs inspection. Went and saw Aorangi and Mr Reid, Chief Steward, also state room and engaged seats at table. Then came back to the hotel and had afternoon tea English fashion. Had a stroll down the street after dinner. Vancouver seems very English after Seattle. All the clothes are more English. The hat shops are very English and baker’s windows look quite different. There are scones and shortbread. The maids in the hotels wear caps and aprons. The first I have seen since I left England.
Tuesday 11th December
Mr Lester came with car early and took us for a drive to see Vancouver, all through Stanley Park, through the district Shaugnessy Hill to the British Columbian University and back to the Vancouver Hotel to meet Mr Wales for lunch. Stanley Park is lovely being nearly natural and surrounded on three sides by the sea. A great deal of Vancouver is waiting for development, ground is divided into plots waiting to be built on. Mr Wales says there are tremendous natural resources but wanting capital for development. The waterways are splendid so it should develop. A great deal of the trade is with China. In the afternoon we had a walk to see a fine pier and then went in the car to North Vancouver to see a dry dock and ship-repairing yard with Mr Wales and Captain Clinton. Very interesting. Had tea in Mr Wallace’s boardroom where we met Mr Menzies, Superintendant Engineer from Dunedin twenty-five years ago. Then back to hotel for dinner.
Wednesday 12th December
Ted up early to meet Mr Gilbert from Seattle and we all had breakfast together, Mr Wales, Mr Gilbert and Thomsons. Afterwards Mr Wales drove us all to the Aorangi , over an hour before we left. Mr Lester came to the boat. We got away at 12 noon. Messrs Gilbert, Wales and Lester waiting to see the last of us. When we were away we found a large box of chocolates from the Gilberts and a lovely basket of flowers from the Royal Mail Line. Ted has sent on letter so introduction to the Captain, Chief Engineer and Chief Steward and he found a note from Mr Lockhart, Chief Engineer asking him up to afternoon tea and saying he would like us to sit at his table for meals. Ted spent the early evening in the engine room watching the manoeuvring of the diesel engines as went out into Victoria. I was sleepy and stayed in my cabin. After dinner we went along to second-class end and found the Spiers. They had joined at Victoria and we had a nice chat.
Thursday 13th December
About 1am the sea became rough and I was awakened by big waves and after that only dozed. I felt like a cup of tea being stirred, first my head went down and then left side, then feet, then right side and again head, a continual circular motion. Did not affect my tummy and was ready for breakfast at 8am, though very few appeared. Pretty rough all day. Quite pleasant to get back to plain English food. Not too cold, and bright. Miss Craven from Sydney appeared at our table at dinnertime.
Friday 14th December
Sea quieter and nice bright morning. Played quoits and tennis. Sports committee formed and entrance lists for sports put up. We both entered for everything, billiards, quoits and tennis. Had a game of quoits with the captain, began to learn the rules. Cinema pictures in the evening.
Saturday 15th December
At 10am we went up on the bridge by invitation of Captain Crawford and he showed us all his gadgets. Window which spins to throw off rain or snow, gyroscope compass, chronometers, special rulers for drawing the course, a plan of ship with models of weights to show where to place load. Were introduced to Mr and Mrs Waghorn and Mr and Mrs Cave Brown. Have finished up with an emergency boat drill. Started on the sports. We both got through the first round of the deck tennis (mixed) but out in quoits. Had tea with Mr Lockhart in his room and afterwards he took us to see the engines. Like huge motorcar engines.
Sunday 16th December
Woke up early to find engines stopped but not being my responsibility promptly went to sleep again. When we got up steward Goodfellow said he heard some water had got into the oil and the ship could not go until it was taken out, were stationery from about 5am until 11.15am. Had a good opportunity to see how oil calmed the troubled waters.
Monday 17th December
Busy with deck games all day. Out of everything by evening. Ted still in mixed tennis and quoits. Ted up with Mr Lockhart in afternoon and I had tea with Mrs Gore and Mrs Marks etc. A pleasant chat with Mrs Marks of Sydney. Pictures in the evening. A very good one of Rotorua. Chatted with Mrs Mortlake.
Tuesday 18th December
Did a little laundry and watched games. A lovely evening. Enjoyed sitting on deck.
Wednesday 19th December
Up early for medical inspection. Mr Neil of Blue Star Agents came on board before breakfast with two leis for us, one of pink carnations and one of red. I chose the pink and wore it all day. Mr Neal had breakfast with us and then we all went ashore at Honolulu. Mr Neal had a car and drove us up to Palle where we had a magnificent view, on return called on Blue Star agents, saw Mr Wallace, Mr Carson and Mr Armitage, all very friendly. Then Mr Neal took us to above Pearly Bay where we saw a plantation of pineapples. The tops cut off and planted and covered with brown paper. Had some pineapple juice and bought a pineapple at Doles place. Then went to Waikiki beach and saw Royal Hawaiian hotel, a magnificent place. A lovely crimson bouganvillea. In corridor of hotel met Miss Loder, by mere chance. Next went to hill of Tantalus, a tremendous pull up volcanic formation. A lovely view on either side. Earlier in day were in museum and saw lovely Hawaiian work. Royal feather mantles etc. would like to have stayed longer. After Tantalus came back to Honolulu and Mr Neal left us and we sent off post cards and we did some shopping. On boarding Aorangi again found Miss Loder waiting for us. She threw another lei round each of us. As we left pier saw lovely diving and swimming by Hawaiian boys. After dinner we both sat and chatted with Miss Craven, Miss Marks, Captain Crawford and Mr Lockhart, a pleasant party. Mr Reid, chief steward and Captain Crawford both made pointed remarks to me assuming that I was scotch.
Thursday 20th December 20
Nothing very eventful. Began to see flying fish. Had some good tennis with Miss Craven, Ted and Dr Power.
Friday 21st December
Began on another games tournament. Had a good storybook from the library. Pictures in the evening. Mr Marks showed some that he had taken in Honolulu.
Saturday 22nd December
Won both doubles in tennis. In evening went through to second class and chatted with Mrs Spier till bed time.
Sunday 23rd December
Fairly quiet Sunday. Had some tennis with ted in the evening. Found Mr Anscombe and two daughters, Dunedin people. Have been away for nearly a year. Know Stewart.
Monday 24th December
Tuesday 25th December
Christmas Day. Presents from Provost Road and Red Indian knife from Ted. Christmas cards from Gilberts and Mr Armstrong. A lovely fancy dress dance in the evening. Nearly every one dressed up. My dress a Hula girl. Found a little Hula girl to go with me. Had real turtle soup, sturgeon, turkey, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. Dining saloon with large Christmas tree and all beautifully decorated. A splendid parade of fancy dresses. Ted had to help count the votes and then we celebrated the occasion by dancing. A lovely night and jolly party.
Wednesday 26th December
We miss, International Date Line.
Thursday 27th December
Went below and saw Mr and Mrs Bunce’s Christmas tree, a dear little one with snow!? Covering it. They are from New York, a very nice young couple. Also saw the baggage room. Played off ladies double tennis. Am now in Finals. Passed some lovely islands today and saw them beautifully with Ted’s glasses. Coconut plantations and bananas. Could see one or two red roofed white houses and numbers of native straw hats. Am enjoying ‘Seven from a Secret’ by Mary Webb, my present from Arthur and Alice.
Friday 28th December
In to Suva by 3pm. Had arranged with Spiers to join forces. Were off the boat early and got away before the crowd and went for a tour round the island. The men on the quay were very interesting. Mostly Fijian with their great crops of hair, some Indians and a few Chinese. The whole island is rank with growth of all kinds. A hard task for farmers to keep the weeds in check. We saw crops of rice, pineapples, sugar cane, bananas. We bought some delicious mandarins with green skins but sweet and juicy. We saw a plough drawn by oxen. We saw a beautiful Fijian village with its wash houses and went into one. One huge room with a great bed in one corner about 8ft by 10ft. The floor quite soft covered with rush mats on which some of the family slept. Evidently a show place, everything so clean and new. Further on in the island most people were Hindu, very dignified with their salutes. Going down a hill another car backed into us. The drivers wanted to smack each other’s faces, but were restrained. We were not damaged so went on. We left the car when we got back to Suva and had tea at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Looked round the shops after tea. All kept by Hindu. Terribly poor old fashioned china at a tremendous price. Back on the ship by 8pm.
Saturday 29th December
Played off my deck tennis, beaten in both. A fine concert. Mr and Mrs Trader and Mr and Mrs Bunce are members of a theatrical company going to Australia and they acted a very amusing sketch called Pigs. I hope to see them in Sydney. The Hawaiian girl played and Mrs Armstrong and Mrs Tutton sang. All very good.
Sunday 30th December
Got ashore about 9pm and found Maurice first., then Grannie and Marjory and Celia all now on the pier to meet us. I went to the hotel with them whilst Ted stayed to see the luggage through the customs. The hotel is very full so a bed has been put for us in the lounge. Marjory is no bigger than I am. When Ted came in we all had sandwiches and coffee.
Monday 31st December
Went with Grannie and Marjory to do some shopping and to the bank but found it closed. Found Maurice and Celia with Marion and Hugh at the hotel when we got back and we all had lunch together. Marion fair curly hair and dark brown eyes.. Hugh very like Maurice. In the afternoon Ted and I went to the ship to say goodbye to everyone taking some flowers to Mrs Evalt, the young married woman in the cabin opposite ours. She has been ill ever since Honolulu. She asked us to come and see her in Sydney. We had dinner with Grannie and Marjory at their boarding house.
Tuesday 1st January
Went by car to see Edie and her family. Got there about 11am. Two dear babies, Jean and Elizabeth. Ben keeping holiday for New Years day so able to show us round. Quite a small house with a lovely view. A very pretty day with alternating sunshine and shade, not too warm, Edie much thinner than when in England. Both children very like Ben. Ted took photos. After early tea we started back to Auckland. As by maps Alfred Barnard seemed almost on the road we decided to call on him on the way home. We left the road at ? and went through the Huhua (spelling) Gorge a most lovely run but I was glad I was not driving as there were many hairpin bends with a precipice on one side. The tree ferns were lovely looking down on them. It was a long run through fine scenery until we got to Mr Mathesons house. We had been told it was the last house on the road. We saw a man up the field with the cows and found it was Alfred. He looked fit and well but said he had lost weight lately. He seemed very happy in his work and not at all desirious of returning to England. He showed me a letter he had had from George Blaikley and we took his address. As Grannies was pretty tired with the long run we did not stay long and got home in time for a late supper. We were very interested to hear of France’s engagement to Lewis Sandeman. It is strange to me the numbers of field flowers that are English. There is clover, ox eyed daisies, wild flax, bugle, honeysuckle in the hedges and wild roses in bloom. At Edie’s there were numbers of larks singing in the skies and we heard thrushes too. It is lovely to hear the birds again.
Wednesday 2nd January 1929
Went up round Mount Eden with Grannie and Margery. We got a lovely view of Auckland on all sides. We see the harbours of east and west of New Zealand and Auckland seems to stretch from one side to the other. The harbours are Waitemata and Manukau. I do not think that Auckland is a pretty city. It seems to have no particular plan, but to have just grown. Its situation is lovely and the harbours beautiful but the houses are mostly uninteresting, painted wood with red corrugated iron roofs. Largely of bungalow type. In the afternoon Ted and I went for a run on a bus and after dinner went in and saw Grannie and Margery, Celia and Maurice coming in.
Thursday 3rd January
In the afternoon took a car to Titirangi and saw some lovely bush. Tree ferns and Kauri pines, hikan palms and saw both harbours, Waimate and Manukau, one on either side.
Friday 4th January
Left Auckland setting off for Waitomo, Grannie, Margery, Ted and I in a seven seater car and the same driver we had for Titirangi. After getting away from Auckland the roads were in places bad. In some places just the clay road was left. All right for dry weather. Getting near Waitomo we seemed to be in the wilds, but there we came on a lovely hotel lately enlarged and looking very new, perched high on a hill. After an early dinner we set off with a party and guide for the glow worm caves, a really beautiful sight. For the best one we went in a boat and had to keep very quiet. The lights were all put out and then we saw the glow worms thick on the roof of the cave. It looked just like the sky very thickly sewn with stars, pale green lights, some stronger than others. They were reflected in the water. I think usually the boat can go right through the cave out into the open but there had been so much heavy rain that the entrance was blocked. When we came out the stars were just appearing.
Saturday 5th January
In the morning we set out to see the other caves, Ruakuri and Aranui. Ruakuri is an immensely long cave, I think extending for a mile. It is all very well arranged. Duck boards everywhere and well lit by electric light, sometimes scenic effects with coloured lights that might be dispensed with. In the Aranui cave are the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, numbers of them no thicker than lead pencils, others a yard in circumference. One stalactite eight feet long. All shapes and varying from pure white to chocolate colour.
The Waitomo cave is the most attractive, when the lights are on you can see the see the glow worms. I think very like our glow worm, like a thin small slug, with numbers of gossamer threads hanging about six inches long. The guide says they feed on mosquitoes and sand flies that they catch on these threads!!! I doubt it. I do not think mosquitoes and sandflies would be tempted into the caves.
We left Waitomo before lunch for Rotorua, getting lunch on the way. We reached Rotarua in good time for dinner but had some difficulty in getting into a hotel but at last got rooms at the Geyser Hotel. After dinner we went out to see some of the hot springs. They are truly weird and wonderful. Numbers of pools of mud simmering like porridge. As you walk along a path you can hear plop! Plop! And just at the side of the path amongst the bushes is a boiling pool of mud. In other places steam is coming through the rocks and in others there are wonderful clear pools of water boiling hard. In one place we saw a boiling pool of water just a foot or two from an ordinary cold, swift stream and in another place a geyser of boiling water falling into the stream. It is extraordinary to me to see these boiling springs on either side of a cold stream. The smell is somewhat powerful and in places the ground is quite yellow with sulphur but in others the deposit is white. This district is call Whakarewarewa and is just a few minutes walk from the hotel.
Sunday 6th January
After breakfast we took our cameras for some snaps of the pool and springs. We took some of the Maoris Sunday dinner cooking in one of the pools. A number of saucepans were just left in the pool. The Maoris find these pools very useful. They wash their clothes in them, also their children, cook their meals and draw buckets of hot water for any purpose whatsoever. The continuous supply of hot water must simplify housekeeping. We saw a Maori Pa or village, Maori women act as guides. We did not have one but I heard some of them talking. They have beautiful voices, their English is without accent and they speak with a low deep voice. As one of the ladies here said, they put to shame the English of some of the tourists. They are for the most part well dressed in bright colours and have numbers of legends to tell. In the afternoon we went for a drive to see some of the lakes, Rotorua, Rotoiti, Okataina. We went in a launch on Octane. It is wooded all round, the steep slopes running into the lake. At one place was a beautiful little bathing beach and we wished we had our bathing togs. After late tea at the hotel we went to the Rotarua garden, beautifully kept and laid out. There are also bath houses there. If you bathe in one of these it makes you beautiful for ever. This was a grilling hot day. First hot day in NZ.
Monday 7th January 1929
Had a great day. Grannie thought she would spend a quiet day so Margery, Ted and I set off in the car. Bitterly cold and wet. We first went to Whaimangu. Oh the hills beside the road were fine plantations of different kinds of pines run by the government. At Whaimangu we left the car and went with a party and Maori guide across volcanic ground for a good two miles to Rotomahana, we passed the place where the frying pan flats were and where the geyser Whaimangu used to play regularly every 36 hours. In 1917 it blew up and a crater 120 foot deep was left in place of the frying pan. This gradually filled with water ad there is now a small lake of practically boiling water. We passed the place where two girls and two men lost their lives trying to take photos of the occurrence. The weather had now cleared and we had a fine walk to Rotomahana where a motor launch met us. The launch took us past the place where the pink and white terraces had been destroyed in 1886. Since then the lake has spread tremendously and is still rising. The whole district round the lake looks very volcanic and in one place the whole cliff side is alive with jets of steam. It is said that you can catch a trout one end of the lake and by the time you have trailed it to the other side it is cooked. From Rotomahana we had a short walk to Tarawhera. The path was like a cinder track. At Lake Tarawhera we found another launch waiting for us. There was a fine lot of growth round the lake but beyond the growth was a large volcano that erupted in 1886 without any warning and spouted larva and rocks for 4 ½ hours. We saw the memorial stone of a Maori village that had been buried. Beyond Tarawera we met the car with Grannie in it and drove through some lovely bush country with numbers of birds singing in it. We thought we heard the Tui. We drove through more aforestation plantations to Rotorua and to the Fairy Springs where I saw the clearest water I have ever seen. I could see it welling up through the sand in the bottom – 10 foot deep, wonderfully clear and a lovely blue colour, full of tame trout. Our guide says that in August the trout come up from the lake to spawn and after they have spawned in the stream they come into the spring and is when almost solid with fish, but after a month or two they go back to the lake.
This evening we are going to a Maori concert. The Maori concert was most entertaining. The women danced poi dances twisting and spinning little balls all the time. The men did Hakka dances. At the end they all sang God save the King in Maori. The American contingent from the Aorangi were there.
Tuesday 8th January
Went on to Wairakei, not a long run, got there in time for lunch. After passing through bare country covered with Manuca scrub, we came to the hotel at Wairakei in a perfect oasis. The hotel is a large rambling one storey building supplemented by tents in the grounds. There are tennis lawns, bowling green and croquet lawn all beautifully kept with magnificent fir trees all about. A hot stream runs through the grounds and in one place it is enclosed and made into a good sized swimming pool, the overflow forms a spout bath, a most invigorating bath, a torrent of water pours over you, at the side is a cold spout and a strip of cold water just wide enough for a swim. Further down the stream is a little waterfall and bath and higher up another swimming pool. No bathing costumes are allowed except when there is mixed bathing in the swimming pool. The whole place charmed me immensely and I would have like to have spent some time there. In the afternoon we went to see the geyser valley, a very pretty valley with a variety of steam spouts, hot pools and geysers also a periodic hot waterfall which is forming pink terraces. After tea we drove to see the rapids on the River Waikato, wonderfully blue clear water and such a torrent. After dinner we sat in the garden chatting to two of the American passengers off the Aorangi. A lovely night and warmer than recent nights have been. The day had been hot.
Wednesday 9th January
Grannie and Marjory and I had a bathe in the swimming pool before breakfast. Ladies only. Delightful. After breakfast sent off for Napier, a long drive on the most continuously trying road I have ever been on. A long succession of hair pin bends on steep gradients lasting from about 10.30 to 3.30. Most wild, desolate mountainous country, not cultivated at all and no sheep on it. We had frequent peeps down precipices into wild gorges. Before we started on the mountainous part we had a lovely view of a snow mountain across Lake Taupo. As we got nearer Napier the country seemed much richer, the grass was good, there were plenty sheep and in one place a very large herd of cattle. A gorgeous day.
Thursday 10th January
Went out through Hastings to Havelock North to see Francis Fox. She has a large piece of ground and has done wonders with it. She has planted a portion with trees, Willows, oaks, hazels, lemons, sumach and flowering shrubs. A charming little house with a bed of brilliant flowers round it. Her friend Major Oldham came in to tea. He and Ted had a heated discussion about the responsibilities of the Vesteys. After tea we went for a drive and went and saw Tom Martins section the other side of Hastings. He has only had it three months and has it all planted with potatoes, pumpkins and tomatoes – he hopes to auction them. We drove back to Napier after dark. It had been a gorgeous day but HOT.
Friday 11th January
Went from Napier to Palmerston North. Palmerston North on very flat ground but fine broad roads and well designed town. Wet.
Saturday 12th January
Went to Hawera to Malcolm’s through very rich but rather tame country, quantities of cattle and sheep and some crops. Arrived at Malcolm’s early in the afternoon and saw Malcolm in the garden and his wife Fan soon afterwards. After afternoon tea Malcolm drove us all to the beach where we saw his beach hut and family and had a delicious bathe in the river. After late tea he drove us out to see Uncle Jim, Aunt Janet, Hope and her husband, Lyndsay and his wife and daughter. Malcolm is full of enthusiasm for his garden and has many strange plants and seedlings that he has raised himself.
Sunday 13th January
Spent the morning with Malcolm in the garden and went to see the Hawera Park. A beautiful fernery, below the surface of the ground. In the afternoon a great tea party. The family came up from the beach and Aunt Janet, Hope and Mr Nicholls, Lyndsay, Joan and Betty came in. Malcolm’s family are very interesting, Marion aged 17 has left school and is taking science classes at the local technical college. She is very interested in all kinds of grubs and insects and botany and hopes to make it her career. Emma aged 16 has just left school and provided that she has passed the matric is going to spend a year or two at home and learn housekeeping from her mother and continue studying a bit until she is 18 when she will study seriously as a masseuse. Frances is having one more year at school and is then to study cookery from a scientific point of view with the idea of taking a post as dietician in a hospital or college. Ian, Malcolm’s only boy is at school in Dunedin and earns five shillings a week milking the cow. The two little girls Barbara and Shirley are 9 and 4 years old respectively. Ted took photos in the garden.
Monday 14th January
All except Fan, Barbara and Shirley went for a picnic up Mount Egmont. Malcolm drove the seniors in his Essex and Marion drove the juniors in the Ford. They had to walk the last four miles as the Ford does not take the hill well. We had lunch in the hut which has a cold water supply, benches and tables and three small cabins. The Angel’s Rest, The Bitter ‘Ole and ?, each fitted with three bunks with mattresses. Anyone wanting to stay brings their own blankets. After lunch we went a few hundred yards up Mount Egmont. I was with Malcolm and it was most interesting, he could tell me the names of all the plants we found including several native orchids. He also found a vegetable caterpillar and dug it out for me to keep and later put it into spirit in a bottle. The country was fairly thick bush on either side of the path. We saw Dawson’s Falls and Wilkies Pools a series of deep pools one below the other in solid rock. We saw the snow up on the slopes of the mountain but the top was covered with cloud.
Tuesday 15th January
Grannie and Marjory went to see Percy Thomson and Malcolm took me and Ted to see an old Maori encampment and later a cheese and butter factory. I did not know before that butter could be made from the fat taken from the whey. There are numbers of cheese and butter factories in the neighbourhood as it is very much a dairying district. In the afternoon Ted and I went on by service car to Whanganui where it was hotter than anywhere else we have struck in New Zealand.
Wednesday 16th January
8am. Set off by car to Raorikia to see George Blaikley. The road goes by the Whanganui and the views are just lovely. For some way the road is about on the river level and then it rises and there are beautiful views of the river. Raorikia is about 14 miles from Whanganui, but the road is so bad for the last few miles that the run took about an hour. We easily found George from the directions he had sent us at Malcolm’s. He was alone at the house looking very well and big. The house is in a lovely spot with a nice garden with tennis lawn and lower lawn. Fruit trees in the garden in great variety, two fine lemon, one great orange, apricots from which we sampled one, delicious, plums, apples, pears and walnuts in distant orchard. The cherry plums were lying on the ground in heaps. George took us for a walk through part of the farm. They milk three cows, have cattle on the hills and thousands of sheep. George rides after the sheep unless Mr Powdrill is wanting the horse. He showed us a sheep dog that he had bought on approval, a pretty brown creature looks like a collie. He also has a puppy which we did not see. We saw a kingfisher and heard two tuis and saw a deer grazing quite close to us. One of the loveliest places I have ever seen. We had to leave before we had seen everything to get back to join Grannie and Marjory on the train for Wellington which we reached about 6pm and then after dinner went on board and sailed at 7.45pm just light enough to get a lovely view of the harbour.
We went early to bed in two berth cabins.
Thursday 17th January
Arrived at Lyttleton at about 6am. Unfortunately I did not get on deck until we were at the pier. We went straight on to the train and away to Christchurch which we reached in very few minutes. We found Arthur waiting and he took us in his car to his house where we were introduced to Gordon, Helen and Lyndsay. Helen as I expected is very tall with brown eyes. Lyndsay is very fair with, I think, blue eyes. We were delighted to find a packet of letters waiting for us from home. Two lots from the children. A tea on the hills in the afternoon.
Friday 18th January
Arthur and Gordon have a fine big house with bedrooms for everyone and a sleeping porch where the girls sleep. A large drawing room, moderate dining room, ironing room and plenty of kitchen accommodation room downstairs. Besides all the bedrooms a sewing room upstairs. Arthur, besides his consulting room and little laboratory has two waiting rooms and an operating(?) room. He took us round about Christchurch in the morning making one or two calls on the way, a nice bathe at Sumner beach. In the afternoon we sat in the garden and after dinner and Arthur’s visit to the hospital we all went to Brighton for another bathe. There is only one section of the beach which is safe and even then one feels a strong sideways wash.
Saturday 19th January
Grannie and Marjory left for Dunedin today and we are to follow on Monday. This morning Ted went with Arthur on his rounds and I went with Gordon to the shops. After lunch we all went with Dr and Mrs Gray to Wood End a seaside beach about twenty miles away for a bathe and tea picnic. Lyndsay took her big pneumatic elephant and we had great fun in a rough sea with it. After dinner we went with Arthur and Gordon to see some friends of theirs, Mr and Mrs Reece where we spent a lively evening and met some interesting people – Mrs Ericson, Gordon’s friend from Adelaide invited us to spend a day with her when we are in Adelaide.
Sunday 20th January
A hot day. We spent the morning writing letters. The afternoon sitting in the garden. The early evening with Maurice and Celia and on arriving back at Arthur’s found Mr Jock Birt and his wife. Mr Birt was an old school friend of Teds. After they had gone we packed and finally went to bed about 12.45.
Monday 21st January
Up in good time to catch the 8.50 train to Dunedin. Had the quickest meal I had ever experienced in Omaru, a four course dinner in twenty four minutes. Winnie and her mother, Stuart, his son Geordie and Alan’s boy Priestly met us at Dunedin station. Found a letter from Dita.
Tuesday 22nd January
Spent the day quietly washing hair brushes and clothes. Ted developing photos. Ted finds Dunedin not so changed as he had expected. Smaller and hills not so long. Very wet and cold.
Wednesday 23rd January
Went into town for a little shopping. Ted showed me places that he remembered. Their old house etc. Mr Crosshead, Lady Edmund Vestey’s uncle came in for a chat after dinner. A successful farmer. He shortly starts for England. Aunt Jean and Uncle Ed came in to late dinner. Aunt Jean lived with Grannie Allan.
Thursday 24th January
Continues wet and cold. Went into town in the afternoon and had tea.
Friday 25th January
Walked down to have afternoon tea with Aunt Emily, Robin’s mother, saw her daughter Margery and Mrs Glasgow, Fans stepmother, Margaret and Priestley, Allan’s two children and Nancy, Stewart’s eldest girl were in to supper. Had some good fun with a card game. All nice children. Margaret about 17, Nancy much the same and Priestly between 15 and 16.
Saturday 26th January
In town with Ted in the morning. Walked across to Mornington to sup with Stewart and family. His wife Anslie a little Scottish woman. Priestly anxious to correspond and swap stamps with our family and Alice, Stewart’s little girl keen to swap with Kitty and Molly.
Sunday 27th January
A lovely day at last. Everything looking beautiful. Dunedin really is the most beautiful New Zealand town I have seen yet. The hills are lovely when we wake in the morning we get a lovely view across to Flagstaff and beyond that are Pinetree Hill and Cargill. The roads all through Dunedin are very steep, some are made into steps. Some lovely houses and grounds. There is “town belt” running round the old part, a wide belt of open ground and bush to be preserved free of buildings, a very good idea. There are lovely peeps of the harbour and open sea with Signal Hill beyond the harbour down all the side streets.
Ted busy printing and fixing.
Monday 28th January
The morning started wet. After an early lunch we all went by car through the Leith Valley to Karitane where we left Grannie and Margery with Janie Allen and Mrs Price whilst we went on to Waikouaiti, where we left Winnie for a farewell ceremony in the Plunket rooms whilst we went on to see Mr Davis, a friend of Mr Hinchliffe. We had a pleasant chat with tea and saw his garden, then back gradually collecting our party. We returned over Mt Cargill getting lovely views of the harbour and of Dunedin. Both journeys were beautiful going through lovely hills. Ted says he had not remembered how beautiful it all is.
Tuesday 29th January
Left by car about 11am for Aunt Jeans in the Taieri. A nice little house in a beautiful big garden. The Taieri Plain recalls some of Ted’s happiest memories. Here his grandfather Allen lived at Hopehill and different Allen cousins. We returned after tea, meeting Winnie and Marjory on the road. Grannie was with us.
Wednesday 30th January
Ted and I went off by ourselves to town. We went into room of the Otago Early Settlers where Ted was very interested in all the portraits. Then we went along to the gardens which are just delightful. The man who is in charge, Mr Tannock had his training at Kew. He also has charge of all the open spaces round about and in Dunedin and is most successful. Winnie says his expenditure is never published in the town expenses. After enjoying the roses we went up the hill and had lunch at the tea kiosk in the gardens and then sat in the sun under some blue gum trees where we had a fine view of Dunedin and dosed and listened to a mocky, which flew out after a time so that we got a view of it. In the afternoon Mrs Glasgow, Miss Glasgow and Miss Nina Reid were in to tea.
Thursday 31st January
We all went by private car through Anderson’s Bay by the Upper Road to Portabello to visit Aunt Ettie Woodhead, her husband and two daughters Rona and Eileen. Winnie and Marjory took a picnic and came up to afternoon tea. Uncle Gordon is a retired farmer, originally from the Isle of Man. After tea we returned by the lower road close to the beach where we smelt whale food (small tailless shrimps) and saw a large dead seal. Had glorious views of the harbour and surrounding hills.
Friday 1st February
Spent the morning gardening, weeding and a garden fire. Ted went to a cement works where powdered fuel is used, with Stuart Thomson. In the afternoon met Ted and went with Winnie through the houses in the gardens. Went to dinner with Grannie to Aunt Molly Allan where we met Janie and Fan again and their sister Dorothy Clapperton.
Saturday 2nd February
Went up Flagstaff for a picnic. Winnie, Marjory, Ted and I about 1800 feet. Journey up uneventful but Ted brought us back through the bush and it was a case of scramble, push and slide, quite interesting but “lawyers” a nuisance. Had tea without tea in the bush and found Stuart and Anslie at the house. We were all bedraggled and torn. A lovely view from the top of Flagstaff, all the Taeiri plain, the Otago Hills, the coast and distant mountains. Beautifully clear.
Sunday 3rd February
Recovered from yesterday. Chiefly in the garden.
Monday 4th February
Went with Marjory to see Dorothy Clapperton, her two children Denis and Rona. Denis a fair friendly boy, apparently gentle aged 4 ¾ years. Rona a dark turbulent girl aged 1 ½ years. We met there Dorothy’s mother, Aunt Mary Allan. In the afternoon went with Ted to visit Mr and Mrs Sparrow at St Clare. Mr Sparrow was Ted’s “boss” when he was first apprenticed in an iron foundry. He is now 87 years and Mrs Sparrow 84 years. If they live until November they will celebrate their pearly wedding, 65 years married. Mrs Sparrow is a dear and looks no older than 70. She has all her faculties, is no taller than our Mollie and still does all the cooking. She has had twelve children. Mrs S says Mr S’s memory is failing but he enjoyed talking over old times with Ted. After tea with them we went and saw the beach, a lovely place for a children’s holiday and only a short car ride from Dunedin. After dinner Peggy Meek came in to spend the evening.
Tuesday 5th February
Marjory started school at St Clare. Ted and I took sandwiches, the car to St Clare and set off to walk to Brighton by cliff path, a lovely walk in the nature of a scramble. The path in places only suitable for a fly. Ted marched ahead so I had to follow. We had a pleasant picnic sheltered from the wind and then went on to the beach to walk along the hard(?) sand. It was that horrible yielding variety of sand and walking on it was like walking on a feather bed. We collected a few shells but when the wind arose and blew the sand off the sand dunes into our faces we lost interest in shells and plodded on until we could leave the beach for the road. We arrived in Brighton just in time to escape a deluge of rain and to miss the bus finding that there was not another for 2 ½ hours. We had tea, telephoned home and then as the rain had stopped, went down on to the beach to hunt among the rocks for more shells. Saw a lovely anemone and found two mutton fish shells, both slightly broken, small examples of the shells Uncle Alfred used to have over his mantelpiece. We found various other shells, including a cockle, the contents of which Ted offered me, and when I declined, ate himself before I had time to change my mind. We went back to Dunedin by the 6.15 bus, which resolved itself into a large car. We both enjoyed the day immensely.
Wednesday 6th February
Went into town with Ted calling at Aunt Emily’s on the way to borrow two photos which Ted wanted copies of. We met Stanley besides seeing Margery again. In town we did various shopping’s in preparation for the Milford Track walk, chiefly in the form of mackintosh of various kinds. Ted introduced me to Mr McGrath, a wonderful oarsman of his youth. Jack Park called in the evening.
Thursday 7th February
Attended to garden fire in the morning. In the afternoon went with Winnie to the Karitane Rooms, had tea with the nurses and saw the rooms where mothers brought their babies. Mrs Alexander and two Miss Scotts in in the evening.
Friday 8th February
In the afternoon Ted and I called on Mrs Stuart and her daughter Barbara, Mrs Roland’s mother and sister. Mrs Stuart had just returned from a holiday in or near Wellington and felt all the better for it. Afterwards we went to afternoon tea with Mrs Bertie Price who showed us her lovely garden. A great part of it natural bush on a steep slope.
Saturday 9th February
Had a car and all of us went to Tuapeka Mouth to visit Uncle William Thomson and his daughters Rosalind and May Hayman and her family. They have a farm in a lovely part of the island, inland rather like our downs. Two small children Nancy and Douglas. Grannie stayed there for two nights. We came back through the Taeiri.
Sunday 10th February
In the morning Ted went to see some of his old rowing friends. In the afternoon we walked across to Mornington to see Uncle George at Stuarts where we also met cousin Joe Anderson. Uncle George is just back from the North Island and it is the first time I have seen him.
Monday 11th February
Winnie, Ted and I met Uncle George for lunch at the Savoy and then went by train to Port Chambers and by launch from there to the fish hatcheries. Large quantities of “whale food” in the harbour, from a distance like streaks of blood in the water. Creatures about the size of shrimps, brilliant scarlet. Whales do not eat them. On arrival at the hatcheries Uncle showed us round. Varieties of fish in large tanks. Sea horses, anemones, crabs, moku fish, green bone fish and other varieties. Saw the fish fed. Also British Lobsters outside in large tanks and afterwards Ted and I walked to the top of the hill behind the hatcheries and had a lovely view of the harbour, then walked over the hills to Aunt Etties at Portobello where we met Jean and Allan besides other members of the family. After tea we all went to lower Portobello Bay to bathe. Unfortunately in going down from a jetty Ted slipped and fell on his hip. He was unable to walk so Jean and Allan brought him in a boat. Uncle George fetched a car and so brought him back to the house and bed. Very painful. We got a doctor from Port chambers, Dr Roy. He arrived in evening dress. After examining the leg he thought it was just a very severe bruise and warned Ted that it would be worse before it was better. We both slept quite well. Uncle George thought Ted was trying to emulate his son. I hope not.
Tuesday 12th February
Managed to get home by taxi, and as Ted felt his hip frightfully painful had Dr Ritchie (grannies doctor) in to see it. His opinion was the same as Dr Roy’s, but advised an x-ray. Made up a bed for Ted in the sitting room.
Wednesday 13th February
Ted and I went down to the General Hospital for Ted to be x-rayed. Taxi man very good helping. Dr rang up later to say anterior superior iliac spine slightly cracked. A case for rest.
Thursday 14th February
Ted can manage to walk a very little but the bruising is still very painful. Dr Ritchie came in in the afternoon and said he would have another look at the x-ray photo. He thought there was no fear of permanent lameness and rest was essential. No chance of the Milford Track for ted. Winnie and I decide to go without him and leave him to his mother and friends. Uncle George in to dinner in the evening and Jim Allan (Bellfield) later. Ted was to have read a paper on Friday at the university club on coal. As he is unable, Uncle George is asked instead. He took Ted’s paper away with him in his pocket. Ted slept in the bedroom.
Friday 15th February
Winnie and I went to town to get some things for the track. Saw Cook Island stamps in the P.O. and bought some for the children. Will post them to the islands and ask the postmaster to post them to England. Called on Aunt Emily to leave photos. When I arrived home Dr Ritchie had rung up to say the break was more serious than he had thought at first, better try a bandage. Ted must lie quite quiet for a fortnight. Mr Parker to supper.
Saturday 16th February
Marjory and I went to St Clare for a bathe. Sea and wind both very cold but surf invigorating. Walked back along beach to St Kilda. Home just in time for lunch. In the afternoon Uncle George brought Mrs and Miss Hopkins to call. Arthur writes to say he is afraid he will not manage to get away to Franz Joseph glacier with us.
Sunday 17th February
Winnie and I left at 8.15am to catch up train to Lumsden, preparatory to going on the Milford Track. Ted down to breakfast. We left train at Lumsden and took service car to Te Anau. A lovely drive, day improving all the time. Beautiful lights on the hills. A little snow to be seen. Anscombes, also Harry Lander at hotel at Te Anau. Went for a walk on shore of lake. Rosy light on hills.
Monday 18th February
Up by 6.30. Off in boat by 8 am. Morning misty. Clouds on mountains. Went up middle creek to meet Dr Marshall and Mr Anderson, surveyors. They came aboard. As we neared northern end of Te Anau cleared and gloriously sunny. Lunched at Glade House Tent. Met party from track. Sand flies hungry. Set off straight away into bush by Clinton River. Chiefly beech. Bush very quiet. Heard an occasional mocky and saw tom tits and pigeons and took photo. As bush became thinner heard many more birds. Saw fantails, tom tits, mockies and wrens. A wika followed us along the path and we heard keas and saw two blue duck. Winnie and I were last at Pamplona Huts 6.45pm. Had soup, ham, tinned mutton, potatoes and greens, jelly, pears and custard with scone, jam and cheese. Mrs Gordon (hostess) very tired. After dinner went to see ice caves. A depth of about twenty feet of snow in places, with streams coming out of snow tunnels. We walked across it.
Wednesday 20th February
We had a bathe after breakfast. Bacon and Whitebait fritters for breakfast. Off by 8.30am. Started in very slight rain and reasonably cool whilst we climbed to pass. Winnie and I last met other party just leaving hut. Tea all ready when we arrived. Our job to wash tea cups. Took some photos on top. Flowers lovely, especially mountain daisies, nearly all flowers white. Went down some way behind others. Lovely sunshine. Found a most tempting pool on the track, so bathed and sun bathed after. Then followed down leisurely. All party away to Sutherland Falls by time we reached Quinton Huts. Another bathe. Then dinner. We went to Sutherland Falls. Three lovely falls nearly equal in height. Total about 1900 feet. Nearly dark as we came back, a beautiful moon and lovely lights on peaks.
Thursday 21st February
Bathe before breakfast. Walk through bush all day. Lovely tree ferns and crape ferns. Walked by Arthur River. Were taken across Milford Sound in small launch. High jinks after dinner.
Friday 22nd February
Went for picnic in launch to Anita Bay. Found some greenstone and shells. A lovely clear day. Beautiful views of snow covered mountains. Also Stirling and Bowen Falls. Views in Sound magnificent. After dinner there was dancing to violin and guitar. Quadrilles.
Saturday 23rd February
After settling up in office set off about 11am by SS Kotari to see Sounds on our way to Doubtful Sound. Kotari is converted cargo boat. Cabins but no portholes and leaky decks. Had to wait about for launch bringing Swiss geologist to join us. By the time we had reached mouth of Sounds clouds had come down and it was raining heavily. Slept all afternoon and woke about 5.30 to still find heavy rain. View all obliterated. Turned into George Sound where we dined in calm water. After dinner went ashore and clambered through bush to see lake at head of watercourse. Came down the rocky bed of the waterfall. Nearly dark. Winnie and I had a cabin to ourselves and slept well until wakened by chain of anchor being drawn in.
Sunday 24th February
Had to fill up tanks for engines. The Kotari went right in to the waterfall and a hosepipe taken ashore and tanks filled direct. Meanwhile cook fished and caught one blue cod. Mr Wilton caught a shark. After breakfast went out to see. Very choppy with a swell. Pouring with rain. Kotari went no how through sea and one by one passengers went below. At lunchtime Miss Cope, Mr Wilton, Mr Anscombe and I went in to saloon. When my plate of meat came up to meet me I beat a hasty retreat. Miss Cope ate and enjoyed her lunch and then fled. We all napped during the afternoon. By 3pm we were in to Thompson Sound and calm water and all enjoyed afternoon tea. We anchored in Dea Bay. So much rain and mist that we saw very little scenery.
Monday 25th February
Reached head of Doubtful Sound about 11am. Still raining hard. Comfortable little hut with Mr Hawkin in charge. Stayed until next day.
Tuesday 26th February
Set off at 7.15am on track to Manipuri. Only slight mist at first. Magnificent tree ferns, crape ferns and mosses. Tried to keep feet dry but after I had been over my ankle in mud once or twice decided to wade everything and found wet feet most comfortable. Raining hard. Reached head of Manipuri about 3pm. Had tea and sandwiches. Sand flies terrible then sailed on launch down Manipuri. Quite fine now and lovely views. Mr Leslie Murrell in charge. Most interesting talk with Mr Cope of Pennsylvania. Found lovely hot bath at Murrell’s accommodation house and dinner ready. Enjoyed both. Anscombes and Evans decided to go straight to Te Anau.
Wednesday 27th February
Took photos of Lake Manipuri before leaving by service car for Lumsden. Mr Anderson, Miss Russell etc on car. Bade farewell to Copes. Met nearly all Milford Track party at Lumsden and proceeded by tram reaching Dunedin about 6.30pm. Ted able to walk but still to go slow.
Thursday 28th February
Went for a fair walk with ted this morning, and sat in hot sunshine for a time. Aunt Ettie in in afternoon.
Friday 1st March
Down town with Ted in morning on business.
Saturday 2nd March
Went by car to Taeri Mouth for picnic, gorgeous day. Ted and I enjoyed ourselves hunting for shells on the beach. Found some very pretty ones including fan shells and rose buds. Winnie, Grannie and Marjory paid a call on Miss Kirkland. Had tea at Brighton on the way back home to dinner.
Sunday 3rd March
Went with Winnie and Mrs Elliot (Charlie Saunders sister) to Karitani babies’ hospital at Anderson’s Bay. Saw all through nurseries, laundry etc. Lovely position and all very interesting.
Monday 4th March
Set out 10.30 by car with Ted and Grannie to Milburn to see Uncle Harry Allan, and Aunt Maggie, Irene also there. Had dinner. Then called on three cousins, Misses Mackay, at Dunrobin, had afternoon tea. Then went to Mrs Jack Sutherland (Joey). Saw all over her house, most interesting. Electric cooker (Hotpoint), electric washing machine (Maitag) both thoroughly recommended. Had high tea. Then home to an oyster supper. Oysters at 8d a dozen.
Tuesday 5th March
Left Dunedin by train at 8.40. Winnie, Marjory, Uncle George, Aunt Ettie, Janie Allan, Stuart and his family all at station to see us off. An American woman in our carriage much appreciated some of our fruit. Arthur, Gordon and Maurice all at Christchurch to meet us. Met Hilda and her little girl Cynthia at Arthur’s. Mrs Wills and her son Leslie in after dinner.
Wednesday March 6th
Thursday March 7th
Went to museum and saw native shells and stuffed birds and Maori crafts. Went in evening to hospital to see Charlie Turner, Hilda’s husband.
Friday March 8th
Went in afternoon by River Styx to see mouth of Waimakiri. In evening went to Maurice’s where we met Mr and Mrs Cameron, old friends of Ted’s.
Saturday 9th March
Left with Gordon for Franz Joseph Glacier. Ted and Arthur at station with us. Train ran beside the Waimakiri River for a long way. The river a lovely aquamarine colour running in a deep gorge with bush. Lovely views of mountains. Left train at Arthur’s Pass and went to Hokitiki by car. Decent from Pass very steep and circuitous. Fine views. Went to bed early. Woke at 11pm out of a nightmare, to find the whole house rocking and shaking. Called out shat is it? And Gordon answered earthquake!!. It seemed to last a very long time, and after it subsided there were tremors for another hour. And another fairly severe one at midnight. Several people said they had never felt such a severe one.
Sunday 10th March
Left Hokitika after earthquake talk at breakfast. Something broke off the car not far from Ross and same to a standstill at Ross. Driver telephoned for another car so had over an hour to wait. Gordon and I went for a walk to see the hospital and the house where Arthur lived with Winnie for a year. Lovely country but wild. Signs of gold diggers but all left now. Went on when car arrived. Most glorious bush country, tremendously high rimu (red Pines) and crowds of tree ferns. Very little animal life of any description. A beautifully warm sunny day. Lunched at Hari Hari and reached Glacier Hotel, Waiho Gorge about 4pm. Hotel pretty full. Went in to bed soon after 8pm.
Monday 11th March
Went with three Misses Berkeley along road to Waiho River. In the evening in the other direction. Misses Berkeley from Christchurch. Saving up to come to England, probably to settle. Very interesting.
Tuesday 12th March
Woke about 3am. Lovely starlight morning. Remembered that a party had arranged to get up at 5am and drive to Okorito and go up Trig Station to see view of Mount Tasman, Cook etc. Decided to join them. Got down by 5.30 and found three Misses Berkeley, Miss Giles and Mr Simpson eating brown bread and butter in the kitchen. Had some myself. Left hotel at 6am.. Still starlight but getting lighter. Sun rose as we reached Okorito on the beach. Half an hours climb and we had a wonderful view of the mountain range and glacier. Clouds rising as we left. Found a dainty little flower near the foot of hill. Took some specimens but no-one could tell me what it is. Have asked Mr Peter Graham to send some to Uncle George. Got back to hotel by 9.30. Wonderful views but clouds rising. After breakfast set off with Gordon and six others for glacier. Guide took us some perilous journeys on it. We stood whilst he cut steps on razor edges. Lovely deep blue holes and crevasses. Beautiful photos to be had from office. Gordon went back early and I did not wait for picnic tea, but hurried for hot bath whilst going good. Spoke to Mr Willie Weir and wife. Lovely Aurora Australis seen about 8.30.
Wednesday 13th March
Went with Misses Berkeley, Miss Giles, Mr Simpson and Gordon for picnic by path beside glacier. A wonderful day. Views across and down on to glacier. Bush all the way. Foot of glacier under 500 foot above sea level and bush on either side as far as we could see. After dinner went with Gordon to call on Mrs Pringle at her daughter’s, Mrs Peter Graham. Mr Graham showed us some nuggets of gold he had found up Calgary Gorge. One lying in a pool of water. Water worn until it looked as though it had been molten. Mr Graham lent me botany books.
Thursday 14th March
Went by car with Misses K and M Thompson, Mr and Mrs Francis (Sydney) to Fox Glacier. A disappointment. Too late for any good views. A difficult drive through lovely bush. Beautiful coloured mosses. Should have gone overnight and up early. Early morning always clear.
Friday 15th March
Back to Hokitika in car with Mr and Mrs Rud of Wellington. Comfort and no crowding. Started in rain but soon cleared and we were able to put the shade down. We were the mail car and had to collect mail bags from nearly all the houses on the road. Arrived at Hokitika in time for afternoon tea, the Gordon and I had a pleasant walk and talk on the beach. Saw many signs of gold dredging.
Saturday 16th March
On by train to Christchurch through Otira tunnel drawn by electric engine. Had a long wait at Arthur’s Pass where we met Mr and Mrs Wilton of Milford Track also saw Miss Peters and two Miss Mitchells returning to take up duties again at Arthur’s Pass Hotel. Arthur met us at Christchurch and just had time to pack and have dinner before going off to Lyttleton for ferry to Wellington. Gordon came with me. Arthur had to go to a patient. Maurice and Celia at Christchurch station to see me off. Slept well in cabin with two other ladies and small boy, in bed by 8.30pm.
Sunday 17th March
Up early and met Mr Rud on deck. He pointed out all the places of interest as we went in. Saw Massey’s tomb on point of cliff. Scott Miller on wharf to meet me, about 7 am and took a taxi to his house where I was introduced to Betty his wife, Beth a demure maiden of three and Jean a roly poly of nineteen months. Had a most enjoyable breakfast. Then rang up Margaret Thomson and arranged to go out to Karora and spend the day with her and Priestly. We lunched at The Midland and then took front seat in an observation car which went through and round about Wellington. A lovely drive with grand views across the harbour. The driver was very good pointing out interesting features. Margaret and Priestly were good too. Time getting short so left car at point near Lyall Bay and got back to Scott’s and found them rather anxious. Had high tea and then Scott saw me off at Thomdon Station 7.15pm providing me with pillows. I slept reasonably well sitting or lolling in my seat. Had a hurried but good breakfast at Frankton Station at 6.45. Train stopped for twenty minutes.
Monday 18th March
Ted met me at Auckland station. Walking ever so much better. Had a bath at the hotel and then did sundry shoppings. In the afternoon took ferry to Devonport and bus to Milford and spent a very pleasant afternoon on beach in beautiful sunshine.
Tuesday 19th March
A telegram at breakfast to say that grannie had broken her left leg and injured her head. After sending a reply took train to Pupekohe to visit Edie, Ben and family. Edie rather upset at news, but, another telegram soon arrived to say ‘no danger’, and later another one still to say Arthur going south. Had a delightful visit to Edie. Wet when we arrived but soon cleared and we enjoyed seeing round the estate. Jean quite friendly but Elizabeth teething and shrill. Caught 9pm bus home.
Wednesday 20th March
Spent morning writing letters. Telegram from Arthur to say breakage of leg below knee worst injury. Grannie soon to go to nursing home. In afternoon went to zoo at Grey Lynn. Lovely space for animals. Fine collection of lions in the open. Elephant which said ‘thank you’.
Thursday 21st March
Spent morning packing. Mr Bowie called for us this afternoon with his wife and we went across in ferry and saw different beaches on other side, had tea at Milford and saw Mrs Bowie’s ‘Batch’. Had dinner at Bowies and after dinner met Mr and Mrs Finn and Mr Martin.
Friday 22nd March
Left Auckland at 11am by TSS Ulimaroa. Luggage went off at 8am. Edie came in about 9.30am and came to see us off. Cabin with upper and lower berths and bibby. Quite good meals.
Saturday 23rd March
Saw two albatrosses following boat. Afterwards five. Beautiful, graceful motion. Very little flapping of wings.
Sunday 24th March
Saw two whales. One spurting water and the head of the other. No chance of games, too many anxious to play.
Monday 25th March
A cricket match this morning between Australia and New Zealand. Good fun. A good many on board going on by Orford but learnt no names of passengers.
South Eastern Australia
Tuesday 26th March
Were very early into Sydney Harbour. I got up and dressed at 5.45am but passed new bridge whilst I was in the bathroom, so did not see it. Got ashore at 7am and arrived at Wentworth Hotel at 8am in nice time for breakfast. After breakfast walked across to Wooloomooloo Harbour to see Orford. Crowds going on board. A lovely ship. Saw our cabins. Quite palatial. Ted anxious to see luggage on board, and as I felt that I should have plenty of time to see The Orford during the next few weeks, I left him meaning to sit and wait for him in the ‘Domain’ (Park). I bought a paper and then found myself near the art gallery, so went in for a few minutes. Some fine pictures and very interesting. Had seen a number of them in RA London. An interior by Clausen I remember. Met Ted and went back to hotel to get ready to go to lunch with Mr and Mrs Connacher of Vestey’s. We went to Mr Connacher’s office and they took us to Romano’s for lunch. A most enjoyable meal with pleasant chat. Mrs Connacher has a most delightful laugh. Sounds as though she really did enjoy a joke. They are going to a cottage for the Easter holidays and want us to spend a day with them on Sunday. After lunch we walked down George Street lancing at the shops and then Ted and I went back to the hotel. We felt a bit tired so rested for a while. Then out again and after tea we went to the Botanical Gardens, a lovely place on a slope looking across the harbour. Any number of different kinds of palms. An immense Moreton Fig. Its leaves are quite different to an ordinary fig, lanceolate shape. The fruits quite tiny and huge roots hanging from the branches gives it a grotesque Albert Durer or Rackham look. Like immense distorted hands and arms. There is a fine avenue of these trees through the domain and the ground is thick with seeds, many of them sprouting.. They are very wide spreading trees. We had a glimpse of the bridge. Everyone talks of it. Difficulties of building. Labour troubles in connection with it. Some men getting 17/- per …… Much argument concerning design. Even dispute as to the man responsible for design. Engineer Architect travelling on Orford. Back to hotel for dinner. Mrs Robson of ‘Aorangi’ rang up wanting to take us for a drive Wednesday and show us Sydney. We are delighted. A studio rang up very anxious to take our photo. Reply no time. Find that a day or two on board ship makes us very soft. Quite tired by bedtime.
Wednesday 27th March
Mr Jack Miller came in this morning and we had a very pleasant chat. He proposes asking us to dinner. Mr Miller is Gordon’s brother. After early lunch Mrs and Miss Robson called for us in their car and took us for a lovely drive. Across the ferry alongside the new bridge. To Manly Beach, Avalon Beach, several other beaches to a picnic tea at Palm beach and then back. Miss Robson drove. In Sydney we called at Parliament House for Mr Robson and then they took us to see some of the residential section of the city including their own house at Darling Pt (?) which is let at present. After dinner we went for a stroll and saw the immense procession of timber workers.
Thursday 28th March
We went to the Easter Show (Agricultural). It was pouring with rain and we had to dodge from one house of cattle to another. Some splendid beasts: Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Shorthorns, Friesian and Hereford – mostly. We saw some fine wood chopping. The champion Appo, a Maori, had a handicap of 21 seconds but he broke his axe and was unsuccessful. We also saw a man Carpenter (?) who chopped through a 12 inch log in 38 seconds, a wonderful feat. We saw the parade ground of cattle and horses from a grandstand, also racing and jumping of horses. Interested in the trotting. Back to the hotel to dinner to meet Mr and Mrs Lockhart. Mrs Lockhart is a Sydney girl. They have no children and she has views on the education of children.
Friday 29th March
Caught an early train to Picton to go to see Ruth and Harold and family. They live in a rough shanty but the ground is well laid out and there are beautiful trees of Persimmons and Quinces, besides lemons, apples, pears, peaches and passion fruit. Of the boys, Ted , aged 18 is working , Maurice (16) is farming the land. Jack (13) wants to be an aeroplane mechanic and Mac (about 10) wants to be a watch maker. All fine boys, busy with boxing gloves etc. Ted gave me a collection of wild flowers he had pressed. Ruth showed me all around the premises, also her house and sundry contrivances. She is hoping that in another year Harold will give up working on the land and be able to live at home. Whilst we were there a machine came for pulling up trees by the roots which Harold had hired. A neighbour Mr Alexander (a Frenchman) was helping him. We enjoyed our visit. They have two horses and a cow.
Saturday 30th March
To the zoo this morning. A magnificent position. The zoo is on the steep slope of a hill with the harbour below. A good deal of native bush still in the grounds. There is not a single animal in a house, all their homes are in the open. They have great difficulty in keeping the giraffes. The monkeys are in a great pit full of rocks. We were very interested in a baby monkey. It was very hot and I was glad to get a rest at the hotel before going to dinner at Mr and Mrs Miller’s. I wore my velvet. We met Mr and Mrs Jack Scott from the Solomon Islands. He was a Dunedin boy and lived near the Thomsons. We were also introduced to Helen and Jean Miller. The talk was largely on racing and betting. The races are on in Sydney at present.
Sunday 31st March
By ferry to Manly, where we spent half and hour and watched the surfing and surf riding. Then on by train to Narrabeen where Mr Hardinge Fitzhardinge met us in his car with wife, son and daughter. She is Mrs Connacher’s sister. They drove us to Whale Bay where the Connacher’s have rented a cottage for Easter. A perfect day, with clear sky and the sae was a gorgeous blue with magnificent breakers rolling in. They all bathed before dinner and announced the sea as warm as milk. We saw the Connacher’s two sons, ? and Robin aged 9 and 7. After dinner we drove to Palm Beach and watched some more fine surf riding. Then back to tea and so back again with the Fitz Hardinges. Very much enjoyed talking to Mrs Fitzhardinge.
Monday 1st April 1929
Took the steamer to Watsons Bay and walked along cliffs to Bondi Beach. The cliffs very much built over, not beautiful, but many lizards – interesting. Sandstone cropping out everywhere. Sometimes deep cracks a foot or two wide going right down to the sea. Sea right up to the cliffs. Had lunch at Bondi Beach and then sat and watched bathing and surfing. Magnificent figures, men and women. Bathing costumes as small as decent. Skins a rich deep brown. Men mostly very sturdy, women slim. Had tea and then returned to Sydney by train. After dinner took train for Melbourne. Had a comfortable two berth compartment. Ted upper and I lower berth. Slept well but not sound.
Tuesday 2nd April
Awakened at 6am and changed trains at 6.45am. breakfasted well on the train. A few others in our compartment for the ‘Orford”. Reached Melbourne 12.30pm and took taxi to Menzies hotel. Just in time for lunch. A luxurious hotel. Private bathroom etc 90/- a day!! Thought the room had been engaged for us. After lunch went to Botanical Gardens. Lovely well kept gardens. Tea in the gardens. After dinner went to see Mr and Mrs Bunce and Mr and Mrs Trader in ‘Apple Sauce” at the ‘Comedy’. An amusing innocuous play. Went to Green Room afterwards and had a chat with them. Asked Mr and Mrs Bunce to lunch at the Menzies. Mr Trader too busy getting ready for next play.
Wednesday 3rd April
Saw Mr and Mrs Buckley at breakfast. Called on Mr Edwards at ‘Weddels’, also at Orient Office. Then went to National Gallery. Had an enjoyable lunch with Mr and Mrs Bunce, though hurried, as they had to get back for rehearsals. Took taxi in good time for Orford. Got most of unpacking done before the boast started. Most comfortable cabins, mine shipside. Ted’s bibby. I have small wardrobe, six drawers, small cupboard and sundry shelves and racks. Most convenient. Only cold water in basin. Dined at table for four with Mr and Mrs Thom of Sidney. Mr Thom left Glasgow when a small boy. Later saw Mrs Carter of Ulimaroa. She told the steward that she would like to sit a table with us and then remembered that she did not know our name.
Thursday 4th April
Grey windy day and ship rolling. A magnificent sports deck on boat deck. Two lawn tennis courts, four deck tennis, six quoits courts. Full size. Too windy for serious play. Docked about 11pm.
Friday 5th April
Breakfast at 7.30am and then by train to Adelaide where we met Mrs Ericson and her friend Dr Burns (lady). We rang up Mr Melville Miller and arranged to call on him at 2.30pm. Mrs Ericson took us in her Austin 20 up Mt. Loftus, a long steady pull up. I thought the streets of Adelaide fine. A broad road with well kept grass and trees on either side. There had been no rain for three months and where grass had not been watered it was almost nil. The ascent to Mt Loftus was a long winding road through bush, mostly Eucalyptus. There had been many fires and grass was black and trees scorched. We saw a couple of green parrots. We looked down upon Piccadilly, a market garden district, also upon many vineyards. Mrs Ericson told us that at the end of the grape season, vintners would come and gather residue of grapes and pay 6 pence for a kerosene case full. We had a lovely panoramic view over Adelaide from Mount Loftus. It was raining a little so the view was not very clear, but very wide. Mrs Ericson also took us into the reserve, a large tract of bush to be kept for the town. Back to her house for lunch where we met Dr Ericson. A very nice house all on one floor. After lunch we went to call on Mr Miller. Curiously enough he lives only a few doors from Mrs Ericson. He lives with a housekeeper, a woman from Mosgiel. He is a wonderful man of 89. Very interested in all news of home people. Quite realising that I was sister to Alex Blaikley. We talked of the war, touched on Americans. Considered different ways of travelling to England. He was very taken with Dick Barnard. He showed us his garden and his poultry and turkeys. Mrs Ercison called for us and took us back to the station for the boat train. We left Adelaide at 5pm. I went early to bed with a headache.
Saturday 6th April
Rather a better day but still very windy. We were up on the games deck and tried our skill at quoit tennis. The wind made the game very erratic. Numbers of young folk on board, both men and women. We tried quoits but with the length of pitch, wind and slope of deck I could hardly get them into the ring. Good exercise all the same. Mr and Mrs Thom very pleasant people. No children and keen gardeners. Very good afternoon tea supplied in dining saloon, a great spread of sandwiches and fancy cakes. The head confectioner stands on guard.
Sunday 7th April
Still rough but sunny. We are still in the Australian Bight, and it is likely to remain rough until we turn north. Mr Thom tells me he is keeping a diary, but it has nothing in it yet but ‘rough’. I am reading a Life of Abraham Lincoln, also some speeches of Baldwin’s.
Monday 8th April
Tuesday 9th April
In to Fremantle 8am. Went by train to Perth. Got a map from Cook’s and took train between river edge and King’s Park. Took another train to park entrance and walked in park. A lovely view of Swan River. Park all sand. Walked along avenue of oaks, each planted to commemorate a soldier lost in the war. All well watered. Soil all loose sand. Had lunch in tea room in park, looking down on river. Interested in Plumbago Hedges, trimmed like our privet in full flower. Bougainvillea, hibiscus, oleander all in full flower. Trees nearly all eucalyptus of different varieties. Did a little shopping and took bus back to Fremantle.
Wednesday 10th April
Calm at last, a following wind. Had life boat drill this afternoon. All had to don lifebelts and assemble at life-boat station. Life-boats were manned and lowered to deck. Life-belts very uncomfortable.
Thursday 11th April
Games tournaments started. A tremendous crowd. I got through first rounds of single quoits and quoit tennis, out of mixed quoits and in mixed tennis. Good games. Cinema in evening on third class deck.
Friday 12th April
More games. Out of single tennis. Very warm, boat going along at great speed, 419 miles in 24 hours. A Calcutta Sweep on day’s run and tickets sold by auction. Highest bid for ticket £24.00.
Saturday 13th April
Out of single quoits. Keen dancers every evening. Very pretty frocks. A girl very like our Kitty.
Sunday 14th April
Hotter still but found a nice windy spot and sat there most of the day very comfortably.
Monday 15th April
Games still going ahead. Ted and I both finished today. Quite content to be able to sit peacefully. Can still enjoy swim each morning. Mr and Mrs Freeman of Sydney Bridge live in Hendon Avenue and Miss Champion used to be at Berridge House.
Tuesday 16th April
Heavy rain stopped the finals in games competitions. Were just watching a single quoit tennis, between Oldfield (Australian cricketer) and another man. Oldfield said to be on his honeymoon, a little fair man (about 35 I should think), wonderfully agile. Watched a beautiful singles between Miss J Anderson and Miss Johnson.
Wednesday 17th April
Colombo. Up by 6am. Saw the outrigger sailing boats catamarans from the porthole. By the time I got on board we were in the harbour. Breakfast at 7.15. Everyone down very early and we had to wait. A lovely number of letters. Off for shore by launch by 8.30. Just by the pier some building was in progress, a most picturesque group of Indian men and women at work, women carrying baskets of bricks (?) on their heads. I took a snap and hope it comes out well. Also took a snap of native bullock wagons, whilst waiting for car. All Colombo life most fascinating to watch. Bullock wagons, rickshaws, and men in their long tight shirts like a checked tea cloth wrapped round them. Most men wearing horn head dresses like this:-
We got away in a car with four other people and made for Kandy. Passed through native quarters, all swarming with coloured humanity. Open bazaars everywhere. After we left Colombo we passed through miles of country planted with rice, all the ground is flooded and divided up by means of small embankments about 18 inches to 2 foot high; as we were climbing these enclosures were for the most part in tiers. In many places Indian cattle were grazing or lying in the rice. Ted says when the rice is young the cattle are put on it to strengthen the roots. As we got up the hills we saw large rubber plantations and saw the scores on the trees that are made to tap the rubber. The rubber is drawn off on alternate days into pails, coagulated with acetic acid, and then passed through rollers and presses. We also saw tea growing. Little bushes about 3 foot high. We went into a tea and rubber factory and saw the different processes the tea leaves went through before ready for use. They are all spread first on racks made of sacking to wither for an hour or two, no artificial heat. Then taken below and put into a series of rolling machines, I think three. These are huge metal rollers, something like millstones which are not concentric. These roll up the damp tea leaves. They are then put into a dryer where there is a fan and a furnace and when they come out they are then ready for grading. All the dried tea leaves are spread on the floor and a party of Singhalese girls squat round and I think pick out any bits of stalk or foreign matter. They made a most picturesque group and I should have like to have taken a photo but not enough light. We also saw the rubber being made into crepe rubber. Then we drove on to Kandy passing coconut plantations. I think Ceylon must be a very rich place. We met many other Orford passengers and had an indifferent lunch at The Queen’s Hotel. Then we wandered through the streets of Kandy and saw a temple. The painted decorations were horrible, also the beggars. Then we returned to Colombo, the driver going at a great rate. We got very tired of the everlasting outstretched palm. We saw a beautiful shining blue bird, a large brown butterfly, some huge bat-like creatures, crows and magpies. We reached Colombo in time for tea at the GOH and then went back to see the shops going back to the GOH for dinner and then back to the Orford 9.30pm.
Thursday 18th April
Everyone rather slack after the long day yesterday. Another meeting to elect new sports committee. Old committee resigning on account of excess work. Continuing very warm.
Friday 19th April
Still very warm.
Saturday 20th April
Started off on games again. 12 noon an exciting boat drill. Two buoys dropped over-board, signal goes. Two boats manned and lowered and back to pick up buoys. Ship goes astern and then back to boats. They each put out a smoke signal when they pick up the buoys and then soon get picked up. Whilst this going on we see a fair sized shark cruising round the ship. Feeling fairly rotten with cold so instead of dinner have whisky toddy and go to bed.
Sunday 21st April
Stay in bed all day. Concert in evening.
Monday 22nd April
Passed Socotra and Cape Guardafui and saw a great deal of barren land. Saw the lash of the Southern Cross. A great many more ships to be seen.
Tuesday 23rd April
Fancy dress ball. Some very good costumes. Saw lights of Perim from porthole at bed time.
Wednesday 24th April
Passing up Red sea, a good north wind and not nearly so hot as expected but quite hot enough. Sports still going strong. Ted in quoit doubles still. Spent an hour washing and ironing.
Thursday 25th April
Friday 26th April
Fair breeze and distinctly cooler and fresher. In the evening ladies put on wraps and we put blankets on our beds. Passed the Brothers Islands about 7pm. Passed Mount Sinai in the middle of the night unfortunately. Letters from UH, Kitty B and Arthur B.
Saturday 27th April, Suez
The party going to Cairo left at 8am. We waited until nearly mid-day before going into the canal, then we went slowly along. The east side is very barren but the west side is watered by the canal from the Nile and is quite fertile. Date palms etc. The canal banks seem in constant need of repair and there were coloured men in their long gowns all along at work more or less. We saw a small herd of goats near what I thought was a large rook, but through glasses I saw that it was the goat herd squatting under his sheet-like garment. We saw camels as beasts of burden, plugging along, also Arab encampments. In the afternoon we lay up for about an hour in the Bitter Lake. Later we passed a fine war memorial near Ismailia.
The weather is much cooler and all the awnings down and stewards in black again. At dinner we seemed a very attenuated party.
Sunday 28th April, Port Said
A lovely lot of letters with primroses from Kitty. After reading our letters we went ashore and wandered round the shops. A distinctly Icky feeling about Port Said. Came on board again at noon. Very interested in the bargaining going on from the boats alongside. An amusing little boy conjuror.
Monday 29th April
Passed Crete. Snow covered mountains. Had a most extensive boat drill. First fire drill. Then boat drill, all boats being manned and partially lowered. No passenger drill. Ted in bed with temperature. Doctor saw him and said ‘flu’. Bed for two days.
Wooden horse racing in evening.
Tuesday 30th April
Today has been full of entertainment. Deck sports had been arranged for, and we enjoyed a good laugh at pillow fighting, where are you Mike etc. Whilst we were watching the sports a linnet, I think, flew on to the deck and seemed quite at home. Several swallows were flying about the boat, one of the girls caught one that had got entangled in the ropes. Later as we passed the toe of Italy we saw two aeroplanes, one submarine and a brigantine or something of the sort. Later we saw Mount Etna on Sicily and passed through the Straits of Messina during dinner. A cabaret was arranged for the evening and as soon as that was over we became aware of the glow of Stromboli on our right.
Wednesday 1st May
Went ashore at Naples with Mr and Mrs Griggs leaving Ted just getting up. Decided to go up Vesuvius. Went by electric train. Country alongside train most interesting. Intensely cultivated. Vegetables, broad beans and lettuce, or tomatoes on the ground, vines trained about seven feet up and fruit trees above those. Saw women carrying handfuls of manure and putting it around crops. Every inch seemed cultivated high up the slopes of Vesuvius. Our guide told us watered by artesian wells. Young chestnuts just coming into leaf, Wisteria beautiful. A perfect day. Wonderfully clear but cool. Vesuvius performing beautifully. The last part of the trip was done by means of a funicular railway, gradient 1 in 2. A short walk from the station took us to the crater. We looked right down into the great old crater and in the middle of that was a small cone formed in the eruption of 1906. It was vomiting flame coloured smoke with explosions. There were spurts of steam and sulphur coming out from the sides of the crater. We had lunch at the nice clean Eremo Hotel about half way down. When we reached Naples we still had 1 ¼ hours before the boat left so we hired a car and drove through and round Naples and saw the cathedral. Some of the streets were very narrow, washing hanging out of most of the windows. We drove round part of the bay where hotels were looking across to Capri, a lovely position, and then back to the boat very ready for a cup of tea. Found Ted on board and cheery, but went back to bed for dinner. I wrote letters after dinner.
Thursday 2nd May
Woke to find the ship passing Elba and could see Corsica on other side. Reached Toulon before 10pm. Anchored outside harbour. Very cold.
Friday 3rd May
Letters from home before breakfast. Passengers landing took a terrible long time to get vaccination papers filled up. Freemans and Miss Champion landed. No passengers in transit allowed ashore. Left at noon. Very cold and windy. Amusing quoits. Concert arranged for evening postponed. Chatted with Mrs McCausland.
Saturday 4th May
The most beautiful day we have had this trip. Fresh and lovely sunshine all day. A strong following wind. Saw Majorca before breakfast, the coast of Spain most of the day. A great many new faces from Toulon.
Sunday 5th May
Gibraltar in sight before breakfast and after early breakfast at 7.30 went on deck to watch our arrival. The morning was hazy so wonder how photos will turn out. The rock face is immense and most imposing. We went ashore with Mr and Mrs Griggs and took an open car. Our driver first took us to a shop. Shops legally are shut at 10am on Sundays , so the door was kept shut whilst we selected our purchases. Then we drove on through and round Gibraltar. It is a beautifully clean town, with signs of the military occupation everywhere. We saw no-mans-land lying between Spain and Gibraltar, the large zinc water catchments, the little Italian village just below them. Left at noon.
A concert given in the evening by the Welsh delegation from third class. Miss Irene Stancliffe who is representing Australia at Eisteddfod sang most beautifully.
Monday 6th May
Wind and sea somewhat lively. Many passengers incapacitated. Passed Cape Finisterre and other lights about 10.30pm
By Edward A. Thomson
November 9th – November 17th
Prohibition was in force in USA and our first experience of it was when a highly intoxicated man rolled out of the elevator as we registered at the Shelton Hotel, and many offices I visited had a secret cupboard in which rye whiskey was kept to offer clients, but we did not see any public evidence of drinking during our stay in New York.
The Indian summer weather was delightful – hot sunny day and cold nights, and we were out every day. The bedrooms were done by a gang of Italian men after we left in the morning and they closed the windows and opened up the radiators and our rooms were like an oven when we returned and reversed the process, which happened every day.
Sunday. Bought New York Sunday Times for 5 cents and was handed enough reading matter for a week. I said I only wanted one paper, the man replied ‘You have got it”.
We were greatly interested in our first experience of a Cafeteria, of Talkie pictures in the cinemas, and the street control of high speed motor traffic. In the subway to New Jersey minimum speed was 30 miles an hour, and a large policeman with a baton urged drivers to high speeds on one way lanes.
One of my objectives in visiting New York was to study and discuss the use of pulverised coal as a fuel for boilers and which had been developed to a high pitch. It was altogether a delightful stay and a wonderful experience.
December 1st – December 12th
At Los Angeles I found messages from Sir Edmund Vestey who had recently been there and Mr E A Gilbert, the Blue Star Line Pacific Coast Agent was there also and I had a good deal to do. I found that seats had been reserved for us to fly to Seattle but there was a good deal of fog about and I refused to fly. Just as well too, as the plane we were to go on could not land at San Francisco and returned to Los Angeles so we travelled to Seattle by train, a day and a night.
At Seattle I found that the Albion Star had been on the rocks and was in dry dock under repair. I met Lloyds surveyor and underwriter surveyor, also repair firm manager there and went over the job with them and made several inspections while in Seattle, but had plenty o f time to explore with Jane. Mr and Mrs Gilbert and Mr and Mrs Bates were especially kind to us and the ladies took charge of Jane while I was busy.
At dinner with the Gilberts on December 5th Archie and Betty had been told that they were not to watch the peculiar way, to them, that we handled our knives and forks, but to our amusement they announced what their mother had told them. Americans use a knife and fork, as we do to cut up their meat, then lay down the knife and change the fork to the right hand to continue the meal. The paid help who waited at table joined in the conversations and when we were all served sat down too for her meal, all very nice and democratic.
There were two other Blue Star steamers there at the same time, loading apples and pears, the principal cargo at that time. The fruit orchards were on the seaward foothills of the Cascade Range (Mount Rainier 14408 ft) always snow covered and the fruit stored in insulated sheds, cooled at night by the cold air coming down from the heights and closed by day in the hot sunshine.
The ice hockey match on December 7th was a very tense affair between Seattle Lions and Vancouver Tigers and when we started to applaud the Canadian team we were promptly advised to keep quiet.
We had a wonderful time in Seattle and nothing could exceed the kindness we met there and we were quite reconciled to missing San Francisco.
We spent a day and a half in Vancouver before joining the MS Aorangi on December 12th but managed to have a good look round, a very pleasant city.
December 13th – December 30th
The ‘Aorangi’ was a diesel engined vessel that I was anxious to see, then trading between Vancouver, Honolulu, Fiji, Auckland and Sydney. Her owners had equipped her with 4 sets of main engines and 4 propellers, no doubt not wishing to take chances in the early days of marine diesel propulsion. The second Engineer, Mr Normal Thompson was anxious for a change and as the ‘Aorangi’ was to go to the UK for a refit about the time were due home, I arranged with him to call on me and I appointed him Chief Engineer of our first diesel engined vessel, the being built.
After leaving Vancouver we made a call at Victoria and on the Island of Vancouver, but it was late at night and our call was brief so we did not see anything of that English city.
At Honolulu the Miss Roder mentioned (December 19th ) had been on the office staff of the Blue Star Line in London before she emigrated to Hawaii with her sister, to live there.
To ensure good luck the Lei with which we were adorned were worn until the vessel cleared the harbour, then cast in the sea. This was duly observed.
A very interesting call at Suva, Fiji, where we bought the most delicious oranges, though the skin was quite green in colour. It was obvious even then that the influx of Indians was causing anxiety amongst the Fijians, a happy carefree people who were being undercut commercially in many ways by the Indians.
Arrived at Auckland and disembarked there, the ‘Aorangi’ going on to Sydney to end her voyage there.
Aorangi is the Maori name for Mount Cook (12,349ft) the highest in New Zealand and translated is , in English, “Cloud Piercer”. We had a very happy trip on her. My mother and sister Marjory, also brother Maurice and wife Celia met us, a happy reunion. I had not seen Marjory since 1903, but my mother and Maurice has both been in England.
December 31st – January 16th
I hired a car and driver in Auckland and for our run to Hawera in Taranaki, where I paid him off and he returned to Auckland.
The roads were not sealed with asphalt as they were later, but there was a concrete road for 30 miles from Auckland and we were speeding on it, when without warning it ended and we ran on to a loose gravel road. The car got out of control and turned right round but remained upright and we were fortunate to get off with nothing worse than a fright.
Rotorua then was un-commercialised and unspoilt, the hot pools and geysers in their natural state, and a most interesting and delightful place to explore.
The road from Taupo to Napier climbed over great heights, zigzagging with hairpin bends and one looked down to breathtaking depths that were quite alarming.
From Napier we went South and through the Manawatu Valley to Palmerston North and then to Hawera to stay with my cousin Dr W M Thomson a GP with a large country practice.
January 17th – March 5th
South Island and we stayed in Christchurch with my brother Dr Arthur Thomson, his wife Gordon and two daughters Helen and Lyndsay, then young girls.
To Dunedin by train and we stayed there with my mother and sisters Win and Marjory at 6 Wales Street, Roslyn and not far from where we had lived at Newington when we were young. Met many old friends. Dunedin not so much changed as expected after 25 years. Greatly enjoyed revisiting familiar spots. Became a life member of Otago Early Settlers Association.
We bathed from a jetty at Lower Portobello and I intended to dive in, but there was green slime at the end and I slipped on this and fell on to a bar of angle iron just under the water and had to hang on to this until a boat was obtained to bring me in.
This put paid to my activities for several weeks and I had to remain quietly at Wales Street while Win and Jane did the Milford Track. Most disappointing.
March 5th – March 18th
To Christchurch to stay again with Arthur and Gordon. X-ray showed hip bone healing but not sufficiently for the trip to Franz Joseph glacier, so Jane and Gordon went on March 9th leaving me behind with Arthur. They went by train to Hokitika through Arthur’s Pass where the village was destroyed by earthquake shortly afterwards, my brother and I had an anxious time before we ascertained that they had arrived safely at Hokitika. We experienced the earthquake in Christchurch where the top part of the spire of the cathedral was broken off but no other damage. A most unpleasant and alarming incident.
I left Christchurch for Picton by service car, noticed no brick chimneys on houses owing to earth tremors in this region, only steel chimney-stacks. Arthur and Gordon were busy so I decided to do this trip and see Picton.
I crossed Cook Strait by the steamer ferry to Wellington accompanied by ‘Pelorous Jack’, a white dolphin that for many years regularly followed the steamer. I went by train to Auckland and Jane followed on March 18th.
March 18th – May 7th
Left Auckland for Sydney on March 22nd on the Huddard Parker Steamer “Ulimaroa”. Very calm passage and arrived on the 26th. On the 29th we visited my brother Harold at Picton, NSW some miles from Sydney, and his wife Ruth and four boys. Much enjoyed our visit.
When the railways were built, New South Wales and Victoria could not agree on the gauge to be used and each laid down their own. The result was that at Albury on the border we were turned out at 6am to change trains and all goods had to be transferred also, about as childish a proceeding as one could imagine.
We reached Melbourne on April 2nd and next day joined the TSS Orford of the Orient Line a fine type of passenger steamer, calling at Adelaide, Fremantle for Perth, Colombo, Suez Canal, Port Said, Naples, Toulon, Gibraltar and Southampton where we disembarked on May 7th, the end of a wonderful trip.
- 45, Stanhope Avenue, Finchley, England
- Adelaide, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Cape Guardafui, Somalia
- Colombo, Sri Lanka
- Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
- Corsica, France
- Elba, Italy
- England, United Kingdom
- Fiji, Oceania
- Freemantle, Australia
- Gibraltar, United Kingdom
- Gibraltar, United Kingdom
- Honolulu, Oceania
- Kandy, Sri Lanka
- Los Angeles, United States of America
- M.V. Aorangi
- Melbourne, Australia
- Mount Lofty, Australia
- Naples, Italy
- New York, United States of America
- Olympic Hotel, Seattle, United States of America
- Perth, Australia
- Port Adelaide, Australia
- R.M.S. Aquitania
- Rock of Gibraltar, United Kingdom
- S.S. Orford
- S.S. Ulimaroa
- S.S. Uraguay
- San Diego, United States of America
- Seattle, United States of America
- Shelton Hotel, 525, Lexington Avenue, New York, United States of America
- Socotra, Yemen
- Southampton, England
- Spain, Europe
- Suez Canal, Egypt
- Suva, Fiji
- Sydney, Australia
- Toulon, France
- Vancouver, Canada
10 April 1929
S.S. Orford departs Freemantle, Australia with Jane and Edward Allan Thomson ♂ aboard. Jane records that the sea is “calm at last, a following wind.” Lifeboat drill in the afternoon: “All had to don life belts and assemble at life boat stations. Life boats were manned and lowered to deck. Life belts very uncomfortable.” Sources: 1
17 April 1929
S.S. Orford docks for the day in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Jane and Edward Allan Thomson ♂ take a car to Kandy, Sri Lanka. En route they observe rice, rubber, tea and coconut plantations. On their way back, “tired of the everlasting outstretched palm” Jane notes seeing “a beautiful shining blue bird, a large brown butterfly, some huge bat-like creatures, crows and magpies.” Sources: 1
1 May 1929
S.S. Orford stops at Naples, Italy. Edward Allan Thomson ♂ stays aboard, still recovering from flu. Jane Thomson ♀ goes ashort to climbs Mount Vesuvious by electric train. “We looked right down into the great old crater and in the middle of that was a small cone formed in the eruption of 1906. It was vomiting flame coloured smoke with explosions. There were spouts of steam and sulphur coming out from the sides of the crater.” Sources: 1
5 May 1929
S.S. Orford docks at Gibraltar, United Kingdom and Jane and Edward Allan Thomson ♂ go ashore. “The rock face is immense and most imposing.”, observes Jane. “It is a beautifully clean town, with signs of the military occupation everywhere. We saw the no mans land lying between Spain and Gibraltar, the large zinc water catchments, the little Italian village just below them.” Sources: 1