Memories – A Daughter’s Perspective

Merville’s Memories

Now I have come up with this plan to share my mother’s memories, I’m dead keen to get on with it. I feel ready to burst into print every day, and am hoping that enthusiasm doesn’t wane.

When Mum was born, her family lived on a 120 acre farm in Dacre, which is sixteen miles outside Invercargill. “The land was covered with silver tussocks and the boundary on one side was the Te Tipua creek.” (I’ve spelt this as my mother had written it – Te is most commonly translated as the. Tipua means be strange, supernatural, abnormal, terrifying or goblin, foreigner, demon, object of fear, strange being. As I can find no reference to this creek today, we can allow our imagination to dictate why this waterway may have been called Te Tipua.)

“We played in the tussocks, hide and seek and built houses by tying them together as they were huge and I can remember them high above me as a child.”



“My father had built a new timber house of six rooms and our nearest neighbours were three miles away and the road was only being formed for us so was very rough.

House probably would have been similar to this in design

House probably would have been similar to this in design

“On summer nights we went with our father to the Te Tipua creek and he would set fire to a tussock on the bank and we would catch silver bellied eels five and six feet long. He would throw the eels onto the bank and we had a stick and had to kill them. We would take them home and they would be gutted and hung on the clothes line and even with the prop up would almost touch the ground. They were salted overnight and were with rabbit our main source of food. Of course the odd trout was tickled too and I would lie on the bank and hold my breath while Dad was doing it. They were a nice change to our diet.”

I imagine some of the eels must have been this big

I imagine some of the eels must have been this big

“The creek was gravel and lovely winding stream with small islands and we would wade in it and play in crystal clear water.”

“The only doll I remember having to play with was a black one made out of worn out black stockings and a face worked on it and with wool for hair.”


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