Farewell Childhood

It Was Soon Time To Farewell Childhood How aware were my family of the devastation of the depression years? I’m sure they suffered along with everyone else. My grandfather’s attempts to get overdrafts from the bank were fruitless, the price of milk and wool plummeted. But I guess there was still much to be grateful for in that a family living on the land was unlikely to starve. Thinking of all Mum has told me about her early childhood years, … Continue reading

Merville’s Teenage Years

Teenage Years In 1920’s Southland As we have the benefit of hindsight, we see the 1920’s were indeed changing times, as this snippet I found suggests. “The 1920’s was a crucial era in the making of ‘modern’ New Zealand. The word itself was widely used at the time, as in this Ladies? Mirror story from 1926: The modern girl has, during the past dozen years, either acquired or increased her regard for:- Drinking and smoking; Paint and powder; Slang; Pastimes … Continue reading

Life On The Farm 1920’s

Life On The Farm During 1920’s The evening meal at Gap Road would always be late, normally about 7pm. My grandmother would prepare something which could be cooking, but not spoiling, while she was out helping with the cows. Granddad would sit and read the newspaper at night or play the Jews harp so the girls could dance. His mother had been a highland dancer and had taught him to dance as well as all the Scottish tunes. “We would … Continue reading

Life On The Farm 1920’s

Life On The Farm In Southland During the 1920’s life on the farm probably depended on the size of the farm and the number of stock farmed. My grandfather’s farm was small by today’s standards but would have been average for that era. They made their living from dairy, not the hundreds of head apparently needed today to make a living, but about 20-30 head. Of course these were hand milked morning and night initially with Bess, Chum (grandparents), Nessie, … Continue reading

School Memories From 1920’s Southland

School Memories From 1920’s I have mentioned school picnics in previous posts but Mum has added a little more in her description of picnics from Winton. “The school picnic was the high light of the year. Everyone would be up about four in the morning to milk the cows and get to the factory and back home in time to catch the train at 8.30am. We used to go to Colac Bay, Riverton or Bluff different years and just loved … Continue reading


Merville’s Memories I have so many of Mum’s memories recorded in numerous note books that I know I will miss pieces, or have them out of chronological order but I guess the important thing is to have them recorded somewhere. Although life was tough for anyone growing up on the land during this era, any time I talk to her, Mum’s memories of her childhood are filled with good times. It rare for her to remember anything negative except to … Continue reading


Merville’s Memories “Our Robertson grandmother (Janet nee Sutherland, born Clyth c 1853) died 9 August 1923 and in November we shifted to Winton to live on the farm at Gap Road. Our father was given a half share in the farm so it must have had something to do with Grandma. “I remember going on the dray and draught horse and stopping by the Makarewa river near Sprlnghills to have lunch. Jim, John and I were left at our grandfather’s … Continue reading

Memories Of Boer War

My Grandfather’s Letter Riffling through all the boxes and note books I have filled with memories from my mother, as well as items I’ve managed to collect over the years, I’ve come upon the transcript of a letter written by my grandfather. This was published in the Southland Times on 21 October 1999 under the headline “More an adventure than a war” – My grandfather’s letter was part of the article and I thought it might be of interest. I … Continue reading


Memories Of A Hard Working Mother Today I’m taking the memories my mother wrote about her mother. As with my grandfather, I’m sure I will be adding extra snippets about Bessina as my blog about Merville and her life continues. However these are her thoughts from many years ago when I asked her to write something down. Bessina Robertson (nee Moffatt) 20.2.1881 – 12.8.1958 “My mother was born in Mosgiel and had two sisters and one brother. “She was a … Continue reading


Merville’s Memories Of A Beloved Father: James Robertson 26.8.1879 – 30.7.1940 This post is taken directly from my mother’s written memories. While I will add more about my grandfather as these posts continue, these are her thoughts. “He was 6 foot tall and had brown hair and hazel eyes. He was born at Sharks Tooth hill by the Makarewa river. Apparently his parents had crossed the flooded river and lost a lot of their stuff, but she still had a … Continue reading