My great-grandfather Philip Warren was born on the 27th March, 1849 in the parish of Kilgarvan, County Kerry, Ireland. His father was John and his mother was Margaret. He had an older sister Mary baptised in Kilgarvan on 25 March 1845 and a younger sister Catherine baptised in Fussa (not far from Kilgarvan) on 27 February 1853.
There are records showing that a Catherine Warren married Daniel Keleher at Kilgarvan in April, 1888 but I am not sure if this was Philip's sister, or not.
Philip and Mary emigrated to New Zealand in 1864 on the Ardberg which arrived in Auckland on December 16th, 1864 and from there Philip and Mary travelled to Thames. Mary met and married Richard Newdick at the St George church in Thames on the 25th April 1872.
Also on the same ship were Cornelius and John Warren who possibly moved to the West Coast of the South Island.
My great-grandmother Selina Mabel Jones was born in 1852 in a place called Wednesbury, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, England.
The family sailed from London on a ship called the Armstrong on November 5th 1864 - arriving in Auckland February 16th 1865. Selina travelled with her parents James and Sarah, sisters Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, Clara and Emma and brothers Arthur and Alfred. They settled in Thames and Emma and Elizabeth married two Wilton brothers and Mary married a Mr James Thomas Harding. Hannah married Henry John Pilcher.
Philip and Selina met in the town of Thames during the gold-mining boom.
Philip and Selina were married on 7th April, 1870 in Hape Street, Shortland (the former name for that area of Thames). Philip owned a bakery in Rolleston Street, Thames.
They later moved to Otahuhu between 1875 and 1878 where they owned a grocery store.
They moved to Great Barrier Island in the early 1890's.
Their first born was Lily Kathleen born in Thames on 31st August, 1871. She married William East Russell in Taveuni, Fiji on the 6th July, 1899 and had one daughter, Noelle. Lily died in Apia, Samoa in July 1954. William Russell was the resident Commissioner in Rotuma in 1927
|Will and Lily Russell|
Mary Elizabeth (Minnie) was also born in Thames on 22nd September 1872. She married Arthur Haslock Yeoman on 2nd April 1896. They had 5 children. Leonard Haslock Yeoman born 1897, Daisy Mildred born 1899, Clifford Arnold born 1901, Esme Kathleen born 1905 and Eileen Mabel Phyllis born 1907. I remember visiting an Aunty Eileen Lambert in Bayswater when I was a young adult.
Minnie died in 1927.
Philip James was their first son born 18th November 1872 in Thames. He married Edna Maud Carrick on 10th November, 1906 and died in Lautoka, Fiji on 17th June, 1931. Emma Maud Carrick 1871 - 1923.
They had three children - Arthur Philip Carrick Warren born 23 March 1908 in Penang, Fiji and died 11 February,1992 in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, Kathleen Victoria born 24 May, 1910 in Penang, Rakiraki district, Fiji, died 1976 and Clifford Henry Carrick Warren 1913-1996. Clifford was born on 6 April, 1913 in Penang, Rakiraki district, Fiji and he died in Auckland.
Arthur married Ailsa Mary Bell and had one son, Jim.
|Clifford Henry Carrick Warren WW II|
Charles Alfred was their second son born in Thames on 6th February, 1875 but died the same year.
It was after this that they moved to Otahuhu.
Frederick Henry was born in Otahuhu on 26th June 1878. He was married to Mabel Emily George and died 16th December 1947.
They had two daughters, Joan Harvey 1909-1939 and Gwendolyn Myra 1915-2002. Myra married John Howard Price (known as Jack) and they had three sons, David, Peter and Warren.
|Mabel and Myra|
I think that Myra was one of dad's favourite cousins.
|Joan wearing her debutante frock|
Arthur R C Warren was born 18th July, 1879 he died in Fiji on 8th April, 1902.
Ernest Harold was born in Otahuhu in 1881 and died in the same year.
|Daisy and Edward J Hunter|
She was very close to my father Philip. Daisy and EJ lived in Katikati and my father stayed with them for a short time when he was about 12 years old. Daisy and EJ had no children of their own and, when he died, she lived with her brother Norman and his wife Muriel at Leigh until she moved to Devonport to live with us in 1965. My mother looked after her before she was moved to a rest-home due to dementia.
|EJ, Daisy and Phil|
|EJ, Daisy and baby Philip|
|Frank J Garfield Warren|
Frank and Enid married in 1918 and had one son, Michael Franklyn Warren, born in 1932.
Violet Ada was born and died aged 6 months on 28 Jan 1886.
Clifford Douglas was born on 24th September 1886 in Otahuhu. He married Edith Sturgeon McClune and died in 1959 aged 73 years.
They had 4 children of which my father, Thomas Philip was the eldest.
Norman and my father were both born in Auckland but the family was living in Rarowhara Bay (also known as Warren's Bay) in Port Fitzroy. In the late 1800's most of New Zealand was still accessed by boat. Roads were still being built and getting from A to B was a major challenge if travelling overland.
There is a track leading to the waterfall at Rarowhara Bay and it is called Warren's track.
When the family moved to the island it was probably not perceived as being as remote as it is today due to the frequency of boat travel between the island and the mainland.
The Warren family were successful farmers and leased land on outlying islands and at a later date owned Arid Island and part of Kaikoura Island. This link shows sheep stocks over the early years of settlement on the island. https://sites.google.com/a/aotea.org/don-armitage/Home/great-barrier-island-history/history-of-farming-on-great-barrier-island/sheep-farmers-and-sheep-numbers-1888-1930
Norman was enlisted into the army at the age of 20 in October 1915 as a Private in P Company, 3rd reinforcements, NZ Rifle Brigade. He left NZ on the troopship SS Tahiti from Wellington on the 8th January, 1916 and disembarked in Suez on 7th February, 1916.
During WW1 he was admitted to hospital twice with gunshot wounds to the arm and the hand and at other times was admitted to hospital with influenza and bronchitis (with antibiotics and penicillin not invented at that time both were serious illnesses.
Norman Warren's War Service record
World War 1 24/1850 Sergeant
World War II 12955 Home Guardsman MM
Personal Details shown on record
Date and place of birth: 20 April 1895 Auckland
Religion: Church of England
Marital Status: Single
Address: Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island
Employer: Philip Warren
Height: 5 feet, 10 inches
Weight: 11 stone, 6 pounds
Complexion: Medium with freckles
Father: Mr Philip Warren
Address: Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island
War Time Service
Attested at: Trentham on 20 October 1915
Marched into: Trentham Camp on 20 October 1915
Unit: P Company, 3rd Reinforcements
New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Embarked fro New Zealand on His Majesty's New Zealand Troop Ship
Number: 38 SS Tahiti
From: Wellington on 8th January 1916
Disembarked at Suez on 7th February 1916
Admitted to 4th Auxillary Hospital at Abbassia (Cairo) with measles 27 February 1916
Attached to New Zealand General Base Depot at Gizeh (Cairo) 24 March 1916
Transferred to New Zealand Infantry Base Depot at Etaples 20 May 1916
Transferred from 2nd Battalion to 4th Battalion - in the field 20 May 1916
Awarded Military Medal for Acts of Galantry in the field - France 10 October 1916
Promoted to Lance Corporal 30 October 1916
Contracted Influenza in the field - France 9 January 1917
Admitted to New Zealand Division Rest Station 13 January 1917
Rejoined unit 23 January 1917
Received Gun Shot Wound - France (back of right forearm) 7 June 1917
Admitted to 32nd Stationary Hospital at Wimereux 8 June 1917
Received treatment for old gun shot wound - admitted to 24th General Hospital 1 July 1917
Marched out to Division - rejoined unit in the field 23 August 1917
On leave - United Kingdom 15 September 1917
Rejoined unit 27 September 1917
Promoted to Temporary Corporal 6 October 1917
Contracted Bronchitis in the field 5 March 1918
Rejoined unit 11 March 1918
Promoted Temporary Sergeant 12 March 1918
Confirmed Sergeant 28 March 1918
On leave - Paris 29 June 1918
Rejoined unit 13 July 1918
Wounded in the field - Gun Shot Wound (right hand) 26 August 1918
Transferred to No.1 General Hospital Brockenhurst UK 31 August 1918
Remained at Codford General Hospital until departure from UK 11 September 1918
Embarked for New Zealand on HMNZ Troop Ship Number 234 SS Bahamo 10 March 1919
Disembarked at Wellington on 25 April 1919
Discharged on 24 June 1919
Served in Devonport Battalion in the Home Guard during World War II as a Home Guardsman
Medals awarded: Military Medal
British War Medal
The following is a report of Selina's 50th birthday celebrations at Port Fitzroy. The reference near the end to E L and D W might refer to EJ Hunter (the school teacher) and Daisy Warren, who later married..
Observer, Volume XXI, Issue 1158, 9 March 1901, Page 22
A very enjoyable little party was given on Saturday afternoon by Mr and Mrs Warren, in honour of Mrs Warren'B jubilee birthday. The weather was very overcast, and had every indication of heavy rain, which prevented most of the elder people attending. A few games of tennis were played, but as the court was rather damp, a continuance was adjourned. The guests were invited to a beautifully laid table, which was very tastefully decorated with dowers, ferns, and all good things.
In the evening the weather was brighter, and a few more visitors put in an appearance. About seven o'clock the M.C. called partners for the first act, and dancing was kept up until a little before eleven. The ladies were very tastefully dressed. Mrs Warren looked very nice in black; Mrs W. Flinn, light bodice, black skirt ; Miss Flinn, creme, with blue sash ; Miss D LeRoy, pink blouse, black skirt ; Miss M LeRoy, white ; Miss A Wilkins, blue; Miss M Wilkins, white holland, navy collar, blue tie ; Miss Warren, blue ; Miss Moor, white holland trimmed with lace and blue ribbon Our well known musician, Mr A Flinn, was greatly missed with his accordion, so Mr A Cooper's violin came in very useful when, at intervals, the two young pianists were called upon to complete the double set. A few songs were rendered. Miss Moor gave ' Remember ma no more '; Mrs Warren, ' Queen of the Earth"; Miss Warren, ' Eileen Alannab. Mr E Flinn also contributed a favourite comic.
Decisions were much devided as to who was belle, but the O Ma opinion is that Miss Moor carried off the palm. . Why did J M dance with the same yonng lady so often ?. .What took E L to church on Sunday ? Was it to see D W or AW ? Never mind, E ; never too late to mend.. R P piled on the jam with the fair young lady.. Is it true that E A is giving lessons in riding? Capital plan, E, to hold the pupils on the first time. .F F looked worn out on Sunday, but E Pa appearance altered that look. .E F gave M L the cold shoulder on Saturday night. Too bad of you, E .. What keeps A E so quiet since the Oroville trip 1 Is it the reflection of the happy time ?
The following is the story of Annie Muriel Warren (nee Cranch) as told by my aunt Moira Mason (nee Warren), my father's younger sister.
My mother was born on 12th June 1891. Her parents, Thomas William Cranch and Martha May Cranch (nee Brown), lived in Devonport. They already had two sons, William Issel and Thomas Walter. My mother was their first girl child and they named her Annie Muriel.
In my grandmother's Bible, my grandfather has inscribed records of the births of all their children, written in his beautiful copper-plated handwriting. The entry recording my mother's birth states:
7.00 pm on Friday 12th June 1891 our daughter was born. Annie Muriel. Our Joy is Full.
|Martha May Cranch|
I gained the impression that my grandmother had poor health and spent a good deal of time confined to bed, with my mother and the maid coping with the business of running a home and raising a family.
Muriel's mother "Grandma Cranch" as we called her, had been raised in a well-to-do home in Yorkshire, England. Her mother died in 1882, and later her father, James Brown, merchant, died also in 1883, leaving four young daughters. I imagine that they were all in their teens at that time. There were also three sons who emigrated to Australia.
They inherited from their father, but apparently the estate was left in trust, and over a period of time the money was misappropriated so that the young Misses Brown found themselves in alarmingly poor circumstances except for items of jewellery which they possessed as well as what remained of the inheritance.
Thus they decided to set off for New Zealand and make a new life. It must have been quite a daring undertaking for four young ladies in those days. They left London on March 27th 1884 on the SS Aorangi arriving in New Zealand on May 11th. During the trip out to New Zealand, the eldest sister, Miss Emma, ensued a comfortable passage by tipping the stewardesses with pieces of family jewellery, so that by the time they reached New Zealand, their capital was further depleted.
Unfortunately I never thought to ask my grandmother or my mother about the Misses Browns' early days in New Zealand. I don't know what happened to Miss Emma. Miss Florence married Walter Jarratt and lived much of her time at Whakatane, and later retired to Mt Eden, while Miss Martha became Mrs Thomas Cranch. Florence and Walter at one stage lived at 17 Gloucester St, Wanganui and had two daughters, Mabel and Laura.
Thomas Wakeham Cranch was born in Auckland. His father was a sea captain, and his mother's maiden name was Goldsworthy. Captain William Cranch arrived in New Zealand in the 1850's and commanded a number of coastal vessels including the three masted schooner "Rifleman" which Te Kooti seized at the Chathams in 1868 for the purpose of escaping from exile. Capt. Cranch was not in command at the time.
During the Maori Wars, Capt. Cranch, together with Captain Emilius LeRoy, went in rowing boats from the Manukau Harbour to the Waikato Heads to intercept Maori war canoes. They cut out all the Maori canoes and thus thwarted the invasion of the Manukau Harbour. For his services, Governor Sir George Grey offered Capt. Cranch thirty pounds cash or a Grant of Land. Grandma Cranch, the former Miss Goldsworthy, who commanded the family finances, chose for them to take the cash!
At some stage thereafter, Capt. Cranch left the sea for a time and spent some time prospecting on the Thames goldfields. He later returned to sea and in 1873 he was accidentally drowned while helping to berth a vessel in the neighbourhood of what is now known as Kings Wharf. Of the former Miss Goldsworthy, nothing is known except that she had her bonnets made in Sydney - so apparently she was a young lady who enjoyed fashion.
Thomas Cranch lived in the Auckland suburb of Freemans Bay which, at that time, was the elite residential part of town, and he was educated at Prince Albert College. He was a quiet, intellectual man, an idealist rather than a realist, I suspect. He was a clerk and later a traveller for an Auckland hardware firm. He and his family moved to Wellington for a period, but returned to Auckland where they bought a home at 11 Bellevue Road, Mt Eden. This old home is still standing.
Thomas Cranch loved books and any spare money (and sometimes money which was not 'spare') was spent on books. He also loved to buy pieces of jewellery for his wife. In order to keep family finances under control and curb Thomas' addiction to books, Martha May controlled the purse strings. In spite of this, Thomas was very much the head of the house and in command of their austere, deeply religious lifestyle.
They raised their children in the strict Victorian style of the day. They were "Mama" and "Papa", the customary mode of parental address of the time. Children were to be seen and not heard, and by today's standards their upbringing would be regarded as oppressive. Nevertheless, the seven young Cranchs all grew up to be fine people, going out into the world and doing well at whatever career they chose.
Thomas Cranch served on the Devonport Borough Council for a number of years.
Muriel was a musical child and learned to play the piano, progressing to become a music teacher. She lived at home helping her mother run the house and rear the younger members of the family, and taught music, and this would probably have continued to be her lifestyle, but like so many of the young people of her generation, 1914 and the outbreak of war changed their lifestyle completely and forever. Gone forever the post-Victorian and Edwardian elegant and genteel life of the upper middle classes. In their place, regardless of class (and "class" in those days was important) came the leveller of classes - war - and all too soon after the war came the depression. Hardly had their generation recovered from war and depression than they were called to face a second world war. This was the future that the young Muriel Cranch inherited.
When Muriel commenced her nursing training she must have found life very different to that which she had previously known, because although she had worked quite hard at home, hospital life in those days was far more menial than it is today. They had to do all the cleaning and polishing, which is done by porters and wardsmaids today, as well as their nursing duties and lectures and study. For their efforts they received a small wage in the region of four shillings a week (equivalent to forty cents).
Muriel lived in the nurses home where she enjoyed the fellowship of the rest of the staff but she went home to Devonport as often as she could, frequently walking from the hospital to the ferry boat to save funds.
Muriel became a State Registered Nurse on 31st July 1918 and was also presented with a Massage Certificate. Massage was a part of the general nursing training at that time, covering, the Certificate states, "a full course of Theoretical and Practical Training in Massage, Naunheiin Treatment and medical Electricity". Present day Physiotherapy has removed the need for the inclusion of these subjects in nursing training nowadays.
In the wake of the war came the 1918 influenza epidemic, which raged around the world with a colossal loss of life.
New Zealand, for all it's isolation in those days, was not spared. The S.S. Niagara, bound for Auckland, developed an outbreak of the dreaded plague among it's complement. In an effort to isolate the disease the "Niagara" was instructed to remain anchored in the harbour and medical staff from Auckland Hospital were sent to live aboard the boat and minister to sufferers of the 'flu. Muriel was among the nurses sent to the "Niagara" I imagine it must have been a very unpleasant and frightening experience but she never complained or dramatised the experience on the rare occasions when she spoke of it in later years.
When Muriel graduated from Auckland Hospital she and a friend moved to the Gisborne Hospital and it was on a holiday from that hospital that she went to stay at Great Barrier Island.
She went to stay at a small guest house-cum-farm operated by the Warren family. It was known as "Rarohara". The farm of 1,000 acres occupied a large part of Port Fitzroy in the area of the wharf and beyond, and the homestead was where the Forest Service Headquarters is now established.
The Warren family on the property at that time consisted of Selina and Philip Warren, their son Clifford and his wife Edith, and their daughter Daisy who was married to John Hunter, the local school teacher who was newly back from the war as was the youngest Warren son, Norman.
Philip Warren, known to everyone as "Grandpa" was a delightful person.
He had charming manners and a very mild temperament, but like all Irishmen (he came from County Kerry) he did have a temper, but we seldom saw it demonstrated.
His wife Selina died when I was three years old, so I do not remember her clearly. From other people's observations, it seems that she was very much the matriarch, and never forgiving Grandpa for inflicting a life on the Barrier upon her. He had been a prospector on the Thames goldfields, and had later settled in Otahuhu with his family.
He had gone into partnership with another man in the purchase of "Rarohara" , and as I understand it, the other partner, who lived on the property, sold his share to my grandfather and the Warrens moved to Great Barrier.
Selina liked social life, and she liked fashion and culture. She wanted things for her children that the Barrier could never provide, and I think she must have been embittered by this turn of fate. She had borne twelve children, eight of whom survived to adulthood.
I don't think she ever adapted to island life with it's deprivations and it's loneliness and isolation. I suspect that it was with an eye to bringing in companionship from the outside world, as well as the need of finance, (because at that time much of the farm was in virgin bush) that motivated the establishment of the boarding house.
|Norman Warren and Muriel Cranch|
I wonder if my mother had any idea of what her future life would be like when she married my father and went to live at Port Fitzroy. I doubt if she could have foreseen how much all the family there would come to depend on her, or how isolated from her own family and friends she would become. How hard she would work in the years to come, physically and mentally, for she was the organising force behind a very successful business, though I doubt if this was ever acknowledged to her or by her.
|Warren's boarding house "Rarohara"|
Muriel was not prepared for the communal life that the family expected her to accept. She and my father breakfasted in their own home but ate all other meals with the family.
My father worked long days clearing bush on the farm, so my mother was expected to spend her days in the company of the occupants of the big house. She found this arrangement very hard to take, but she was of such a sweet nature that she would never say, or do anything, which would hurt anyone else if she could possibly avoid it, and to argue against these expectations would have hurt her new husband apart from his family, so she went along with the arrangements. Soon she became pregnant, and in the early months of pregnancy, when she felt very ill, she found this communal living even less to her liking, particularly having to sit down to meals which often comprised foods which she did not fancy at that particular time.
|Phil and baby Pat|
He was a beautiful baby (judging by photographs) with tight golden curls, and he was the delight of his mother's life, as well as bringing great joy to his grandparents and his Aunty Daisy who, sadly, had lost her baby earlier on and was to remain childless.
On September 22nd 1924 I arrived in this world, and am told that they were very pleased to receive a daughter, though, apparently I did not have the new-born beauty of my brothers and my father could always be assured of cries of indignation from my mother by telling people that I was very red and had a face like a fried boot. (I didn't like that comment very much)
|Pat Moira and Phil|
This must have been a busy period. The boarding house had expanded, the newly cleared acres of the farm were starting to produce. My father added to his workload the job of "District Constable".
At this time the Kauri forest was being worked and the population of the island was at it's peak. In those days there was no medical assistance other than any nurses who might be on the island, and they were few and far between. So it was not unusual to have people coming to our place for help and advice from my mother, even to have the odd wound stitched up. She had foreseen this possibility and brought with her a good first aid kit including surgical needles and sutures.
I look back over the years when she cared for all our illnesses and fractures. Nothing seemed to overcome her and she was always calm and professional in the face of sickness. And although I did not sense it then, I am convinced that she actually had healing powers. To have her lay her hands on one brought a sense of strength and peace.
She had a greater ability to make one comfortable in bed than anyone I have known and I wish she could show some of the nurses who have looked after me just how to go about the business of nursing. I remember one of our boarders becoming ill, and when Mum told us it was pneumonia, it didn't mean much to us, but I realise now what a feat of nursing skill was his recovery, for in those days there was no cure other than good nursing and the patient's own recuperative ability. We had not heard of antibiotics in those days. I realise too how it must have taxed Mum to care for this very sick man, and
|Phil Pat and Moira with kittens|
My mother used to go to Auckland every year to visit her parents, and usually she took my brothers and me, but sometimes some of us would be left with Aunt Daisy. It was quite a long trip of about ten hours in my father's launch "Tauri" and Mum and us children were not the good sailors that my father would have liked us to be.
It used to be a matter of some concern to me why Mum had taken the two little boys to have professional photographs taken when they were about eighteen months old, but there was no photo of me. I had the feeling that that "fried boot" business must have been the reason. Eventually I asked her, when I was grown up. She told me that she had taken me to Auckland, and I was to have been photographed, but she felt so ill all the time that she did not move far from her mother's house. The poor darling was pregnant again. Coming back to the Barrier she miscarried. What a terrible experience for her on that little launch (about 35 feet long) with no-one to care for her other than my father, and no doubt he had his work cut out handling the boat and looking after me, and possibly the boys if they were with us. This must surely have been one of my mother's most horrible experiences.
On November 6th 1930 Mum's second daughter was born. They named her Nancy Muriel, no fried boot here, but everything a baby girl should be, and she brought great joy to my parents. Her arrival must also have added much to Mum's load. Our "boarder" season began at Christmas time and Mum must scarcely have been over having the baby when all the busy-ness intruded once more upon our family life. Nancy was a demanding baby and child. I can remember the boys and I having to wheel the pram for what seemed like hours to still her crying, while no doubt Mum was tearing around doing the work of six people.
It must have been about this time that Aunt Daisy and her husband moved to Katikati to live. This meant that we all had to move down to the big house so as to look after Grandpa. The move must have been welcomed by Mum, as we were now rather cramped in our little cottage. Now, in the winter time we could spread out and have a room each if we liked, and still have rooms to spare!
At this time our household comprised our immediate family of six, Grandpa, the new school teacher, a housemaid and a farm hand. From time to time (in the off season) visiting Government officials and other boarders would swell our ranks intermittently, but it was comparatively peaceful. From Xmas until Easter it was a very different story, with 36 boarders, as well as the staff of about 5 extra.
The "Depression" was upon New Zealand at this time, but it did not seem to affect our family unduly. We lived well but not extravagantly, and were fairly self-supporting with our own meat, milk, butter, eggs and vegetables from Grandpa's prolific garden.
My father was taking advantage of the availability of men wanting work, and was employing them to clear vast areas of hill country. After clearing came the big burn-off, a spectacular sight. and then the sowing of grass seed. As more land came into grass the sheep flock increased and brought with it busy times with the seasonal extras of shearing, tailing and dipping.
Looking after the ice-box was just another job for Mum to fit into her busy day. The ice-box was a square insulated box, about 4 feet in each direction. It had a slit cut into the upper part of one side to take the apparatus that provided the refrigeration. This apparatus consisted of a pipe shaped into a square "U" and at each end was a metal ball about a foot in diameter. Within the apparatus were chemicals. Every day this contraption had to me removed from the ice-box, and a primus placed under one of the balls. This was heated for a given period, at the end of which time the heated ball was plunged into a drum of water. This caused the chemical to activate and the other ball would begin to frost up on the outside. It was then ready to begin it's purpose again. The lid of the box would be raised and the contraption fitted into the slot, with the frosty ball inside the box and the other ball outside the box.
It was quite an effective appliance, but time consuming to operate, and a far cry from the streamlined, self-defrosting refrigerators of today. We were all very delighted, years later, when the old ice-chest gave way to an Electrolux refrigerator which operated on Kerosene.
Looking back, it seems that during the years of the early and mid-thirties was a time when my father made a number of important purchases - important to the economy of our family. He purchased two islands, Arid Island and Kaikoura Island and used them as run-offs for the main farm.
In order to transfer the stock from one area to the other he purchased the smallest scow in Auckland's scow fleet - the Lena. She was to serve the dual purpose of being also used for taking the boarders out on daily fishing trips. Father had had a few frights transporting his fishing parties in the "Tauri" when someone would spot something interesting, or catch an extra big fish, and everyone would rush to one side of the boat to look. So the Tauri was sold, and no way could anyone alter the equilibrium of the Lena, a flat-bottomed boat. She was my father's pride and joy. The rest of us tended to accept her as a necessary evil! And she brought quite a lot of anxiety to Mum, for Father and Pat would go off to Arid Island to take or collect cattle - in the early stages these tended to be wild ones. So apart from the danger of the stock, there was the constant hazard of the weather, which could change very quickly bringing with it considerable danger. No radio telephones in those days to keep ship in contact with shore, so we would just have to hope for the best, and heave a sigh of relief when we heard them coming into the bay.
Many were the nights that Mum sat up late when she must have been desperately needing to get to bed, while she tended the fire and kept a hot meal ready for the men and at frequent intervals she or Phil or I would go out to the verandah and listen for the sound of the Lena's motors, because my father would expect one of us down at the wharf when he arrived, so that we could shine a torch on the corner of the wharf to facilitate bringing her alongside, and to take rope.
Fortunately Mum was an avid reader, so, tired though she may have been on those nights, it gave her an opportunity to enjoy a good long read. She always appreciated receiving books as birthday or Christmas presents.
During the afternoons when we did not have boarders, she would treat herself to a longer afternoon rest and enjoy reading while she rested. Being a very well organised lady, she had usually completed all the household chores by lunch-time, so before she had to commence dinner preparations she would have her rest and then relax with some gardening or some needlework or reading. How she earned these times of relaxation, and how glad of them she must have been.
Very occasionally we would all go visiting at some of the other homes at Port Fitzroy, but Mum never became particularly friendly with any of the local women, so she never hankered after these outings, stating quite clearly that she would just as much prefer staying home and reading a book!
The things about my mother, which stand out in my memory, are her sweet nature, her healing capacity, her quiet efficiency no matter what the emergency, be it domestic or medical, serious or trivial. But most of all I remember and cherish memories of her as a home-maker. In every house she lived in, she brought as much beauty to it as restricted funds would permit, and neatness and cleanliness predominated. A lady of many "sayings" her motto or quotation here was "Look after the corners and the rest of the room will look after itself". Also "Don't put it down, put it away!" And outside every house she occupied, she planted a garden. She must have had green fingers, for her gardens always prospered, although not once did she enjoy a good sheltered position or good soil.
As I look back over the years I picture the big house at Rarohara and marvel at the way she had every room spick and span and ready for occupation at all times.
The rooms in that old house were very large. The dining room must have measured about 30 ft x 16 ft. At one end was a row of windows. One long wall gave entry to the office, the linen room and the back porch, while the other long wall gave access to the long passage-way and the stairs. The kitchen opened off the other short wall. The floor was covered with a grey patterned linoleum which in winter was covered with a lovely old carpet in shades of green and black with a design of oak leaves. In the winter this was our sitting room, with all but the biggest table being removed, and at one end a pot-belly type of stove was set up each winter which warmed the whole room. The big table, my Grandfather's pride and joy, was one complete kauri board. What a colossal tree must have yielded this table top. It seated fourteen people comfortably.
The kitchen was equipped with two large wood-ranges, separated from the linoleum covered floor by a long, wide concrete hearth - a concession to the Warren fear of fire, and though no doubt a practical innovation, was the curse of all who worked at the stoves as it tired their legs, to be standing on concrete especially in hot weather.
At one end stood a refrigerator, (in latter years) food cupboards and an enormous flour bin which could take a 200 pounds of flour with no trouble. The flour was always bought in 200 pound sacks (100 kilos). In those days all the bread the household required had to be baked so the consumption of flour for bread baking alone must have been an interesting figure.
Upstairs were three bedrooms. These were the staff quarters and often we youngsters slept there too. Off the long passageway on the ground floor were four huge bedrooms. Each on must have been about 16 feet square, with large windows and lacy curtains. Mum used to love choosing the wall-papers and curtains. The floors were always bare wood, stained and polished, with scatter rugs. Along the front of the house was a wide grey verandah. Off one end was a large glassed in room, which in turn opened onto another bedroom. The other end of the verandah gave entry to what was known as "the drawing room", this name being a hangover from Granny Warren's occupation of the house when it was as it's name implied. Under Mum's organisation, the walls were panelled with oiled plywood, most attractively, the bare floor polished to a dance surface, and here the piano and gramophone were housed, along with plenty of games to occupy people on wet days. It thus became a recreation room. Covering the front wall of this room, all except it's big window, was a beautiful old pink climbing rose, which never failed to draw admiration.
One of my mother's greatest frustrations was the lack of bathing facilities. Although my father had made a concession in the mid-thirties and installed two flush toilets, he would not increase the bathrooms, of which there were only two, one with hot water over bath and basin in the lower annex. Needless to say, these facilities caused some queuing, and were a form of inefficiency with an old-fashioned wash-stand, with jug, washing bowl and "po". Some of the wash-stands would be highly prized today, being kauri with marble tops, or topped with ceramic tiles, and some of the china-ware was beautiful too, with colourful sprays painted on them.
Obtaining staff to work in the house was often a problem. My father would go to Auckland before Xmas to bring home vast quantities of supplies for the boarding house and for the store that was operated in conjunction with the house. At the same time he would go to the labour department and choose some hired help. Sometimes he would get a cook and some maids, sometimes just maids. They would, invariably, fail to come up to a suitable standard. During the depression, with so many people seeking any kind of work, we had quite a mixed bag. Among them I recall a chorus girl, an "English-trained" children's nurse, a genuine old char named Tilly, a weird raddled-looking woman named Mrs Rackett, and a cook named Joe. Joe was not just a cook, he was a qualified chef, and he delighted my mother by turning out deliciously perfect food. The mashed potatoes were always applied to the plate through a forcing bag to form a rosette, as was the whipped cream for the desserts, with sprinklings of coloured sugar topping the cream rosettes.
There were usually local Maori girls available for employment, but they were not always reliable, and on occasions we were able to obtain local women to do the cooking. Of these, Mrs Aikin stands out, not just for her cooking skills (which were in themselves outstanding) but as a real friend to my mother, never sparing herself and working long, long days doing that bit extra to save Mum. I recall how, one summer, we had a crisis with one girl going off sick and then my brother Pat and I contracting mumps. Mrs Aikin, of her own volition, used to rise an hour earlier each day to scrub the toilets and bathrooms to save Mum doing it. We all loved her and respected her, for this and many acts of friendship and kindness.
|Day trip on the boat|
If the staff were a varied bunch, so were the boarders ranging from office workers through to some of Auckland's best known business men and their wives. (In the 1930's they even had Lord and Lady Bledisloe staying in the house.) And without exception they all seemed to adore my mother. Many would come back to stay, year after year, and often they said that one of the highlights was to come over a little knoll on the path from the wharf to the house and see Mum standing on the path to welcome them, and direct them to their bedrooms.
|Muriel holding Pat and Daisy holding Phil|
This link shows the graves of Philip and Selina Warren on Quoine (Grave) Islandhttps://sites.google.com/a/aotea.org/don-armitage/Home/great-barrier-island-history/cemeteries-and-gravesites-of-great-barrier-island/quoine
|Crew from Q03 with the Warren family|
|Nancy Pat Phil Moira Muriel and Norman|
|Q03 and Lena|
When any of us "islanders" went to Auckland, before we could return to the island we had to go to Area 1 HQ in Auckland and get a certificate to permit our return. It was a real pest!
Socially, the island came alive. Many were the dances held in the camps. We did a lot of private entertaining too. Phil, Pat and I became friendly with the young Artillery troops and I doubt if a day went by without some of them spending a leave day with us. It transpired that among the Infantrymen were several men with whom Father had served in France, so of course they were regular visitors to our home too. Mum invariably had extras to dinner in those days, but she seemed to take it all in her stride.
Her heart must have been breaking though. With each passing day, the date of Phil's posting overseas came nearer, and Nancy had to be put into a boarding school in Auckland. Because of the ever-present danger of a Japanese invasion, Mum must have been petrified that something would happen and she would be powerless to do anything.
The Home Guard (of which Father was the "Chief") had bought up a large supply of "storable" food and had deposited it in a cache back in the hills, with a plan to get the women and children evacuated to this secret spot when the invasion became imminent. And at that stage it was "when" not "if", for the Japanese were pressing south with alarming speed.
The day our family had been dreading eventually came, and Phil went off to the Middle East. At that time I joined the Army and was posted to the local Artillery Camp, as Orderly-room Clerk, but lived at home.
Mum never spoke of worries or fears, though she must have felt them. She just went on coping in her usual efficient way, managing to feed the family and the "extras" in spite of rationing. The day came when the telegram, which everyone in those days dreaded receiving, was phoned through to our house. It told us that Phil had been wounded. The anxiety that prevailed between receiving it, and receiving further details, was terrible, and it really broke Mum up. It turned out that Phil's wound was shrapnel in the shoulder and while it was probably awful for Phil, it could have been very much worse.
Pat had been called up for Military duty too, but Father had appealed to keep him on the land, as by that time Father was supplying the Army with meat, and it was a full time job for both Pat and him to keep a supply of killable stock on hand, and butchering and delivering it to the camps. I know Pat felt badly about not being able to join up, bot he never complained, and to have him at home must have been a great consolation to Mum, especially when later on the danger of invasion was considered over and the troops were moved off the island, myself included.
Towards the end of the war, Mum's health began to deteriorate. She was found to have cancer, which was at such an advanced stage that she was only given six months to live.
Our world felt as if it was falling apart. She was our strength and our comfort and except for odd attacks of migraine, she had never been ill. We were shattered.
At that time, Phil had developed appendicitis. It was decided to send him back to N.Z. for surgery, and we all felt that perhaps this would be the thing to give Mum something special to hold on to and I am sure that it did help her a great deal.
The outlook for her recovery looked bleak, even though she had passed the six-month limit, and had a second operation. It seemed as if she would be in and out of hospital and needing constant medical care, so after much deliberation Father sold the property at Port Fitzroy, and the family moved to Leigh.
The move must have been traumatic for Mum, in her fragile state. To begin with, the house on the new farm was not vacant immediately, so she and Phil and Nancy had to live in the local boarding house. Then, when they could move in, it proved to be a very tawdry little house, which took every bit of Mum's home-making talent to turn it into a "home". She succeeded in getting both the house and the garden to look quite nice, in spite of the fact that from that time on she was never well. At five-yearly intervals, or thereabout, the cancer would overtake her, and she would go off for more surgery, and we would hold our breath. God was good to us. We had her with us twenty years from the time she first took ill.
In the intervening years we all married and produced families. Mum adored all the grandchildren, and they adored her in return. My own children envied Pat's and Phil's families who were lucky enough to live on the farm and could see Grandma every day!
Father built a new house for Mum, which she enjoyed for her last few years, even though, alas, she was not given much of a say in it's design or decor. Once again she summoned the strength to start another pretty garden.
As we had all known must ultimately happen, the time came when Mum's health failed with a finality that was obvious to us all. It must have been obvious to her, too. In her typically independent way, and so as not to bother anyone else, she must have set about disposing of all her old clothes and the bits and pieces one tends to amass. This, of course, was not known until after she had left us, and we came to dispose of her effects. We found just a few frocks and undies that she had needed in her last ambulant days. The time soon came when she could no longer get about and she became bedridden.
There were long, sad months to follow, when there seemed to be so little one could do. Eventually a full time nurse was needed, and then came the time when a night nurse was needed too. Logistics made this impossible, so reluctantly the decision was made to hospitalise her. I know we all wished it could be otherwise. Fortunately, it was not for very long. On September 27th, 1964 she left us and passed over.
She has left wonderful memories and an example of kindness and unselfishness, which would be impossible to emulate.
You are in the company of Angels, dear lady, where you belong.
Daisy's husband died in 1949 and she moved to Leigh to live with Norman and Muriel. When my parents moved from Leigh to 71 Vauxhall Road, Devonport in 1964 Aunty Daisy came to live with us.
The following is additional history of the Cranch family (Muriel's family) given to my cousin Ann Mason (eldest daughter of Moira).Martha May Cranch (mother of Muriel was grand-daughter of Joseph and Mary Brown. Mary Brown's maiden name was Mary Twiby. Joseph Brown was born in 1792 and died in 1876.
There were, and I believe, still are Browns, relatives of Martha May, in Thames. There was a Miss Laura Brown from Thames who used to spend a lot of time staying with Martha May's sister Florence, (Mrs Jarratt known is "Narnie"). Both ladies were very clever with handcrafts.
A Miss Florence Mary Brown (from Thames) married a Mr Fry. She was Muriel's cousin. She lived at "Plasket" 11 Sherwood Road, Ivanhoe, N21, Melbourne.
Aunt May told me she was the "eldest Brown grandchild" born on 20th May, her grandfather's birthday. I presume her grandfather was James Brown, therefore her father must have been Martha May's brother - yet I always believed there were only three girls - Emma, Annie and Martha May. I could be wrong in either assumption.
Mrs Fry had several children. Eldest daughter was Ella Dorothy, a school teacher, Marjorie, youngest daughter, twin sons, Wilfred was a farmer and John who worked with the herd test division of the Dept of Agriculture in Melbourne and another son, Alwyn.
Her husband's name was Guerney, I think.
I have record of an English relative who used to keep in touch with NZ branch - Win Hubbard - c/o Geo Kent Ltd, 199 High Holborn, London. That would have been an address of some years ago.
James Brown and family lived at Mill Houses, Sheffield. There were some Browns who lived in Goldstone Road, Sheffield.
Some time ago I made a note of the name Reg Brown, son of Walter Brown, Martha May's cousin. But I do not remember why I made the note or whether it was Reg or Walter who was the cousin. I suspect these may be (or have been) Thames people.
Grandma and Grandpa Cranch made a visit to England and Grandpa must have been trying to trace the origins of the name Cranch.
He wrote to Aunt May that he had found this verse from early Celtic writings:
Lustrous white lilies, large and small,
Break into foam by the Cranach
While on the sunset's rosed stain
Flash the wings of a rare grey Crane
A Cranach was the riverhead or outlet of a lake. It is possible the name survived as the riverhead of Dartmouth. In days gone by some of ours were dwellers on the Cranach who later omitted the final (a) - he wrote.
Margery Moore, Aunt May's daughter, probably has the cuttings etc. Aunt May had collected. Among these was reference to an act of bravery when Captain William Cranch and Captain Emilius Le Roy of the Naval Volunteer Brigade went in rowing boats from the Manukau Harbour to the Waikato Heads to head off a Maori invasion. (This is referred to at the beginning of Moira's story.)
Thomas Cranch (Moira's grandfather) had a sister, Maria, who married a Mr Robertson. They had a daughter, Mary, who married a Mr Kidd from Dargaville. Their son Jim Kidd, Sylvia Rd, Northcote, has much information.
Maria's son Hugh, of Whangarei, has also studied the family history. Maria also had a daughter, Jean, now Carter, who lived in Gillies Ave, Newmarket.
Maria's son James had no children. Other son William, apparently has a daughter, Jill McGregor, who lives in Opoutere or Whangamata area.
My daughter Gwyneth's partner Gavin Kidd, is descended from this family which ultimately makes Gwyneth a third cousin to her own sons.
In the typed notes it refers to William and James - brothers of Thomas Cranch.
I have been told that William, (the master mariner son of old Captain Cranch) married in Australia and took his wife with him on his boat (name not known). While far from land she went into a difficult labour and she and the child died. He was somewhat unhinged by the disaster.
It is said that from then on he went "blackbirding". The historic notes say he died at sea. It would be interesting to know that part of the story. I was told he died on the vessel "Sybil". Someone going to Australia some time could research that boat's history.
On the Warren side not much is known. Arthur has provided as much as he can from the family Bible and other odd documents. The Warren family in Ireland had a Protestant father and Catholic mother.
The boys were all brought up Protestant and the girls Catholic. I can remember a Mary Warren- no-one else seems to know about her. I think she must have been a niece of Grandpa (Philip) Warren and possibly came from the South Island branch. This is actually Philip's sister.
Mum was having a hearing aid fitted at Altons in Auckland and the technician's name was Warren. He was from Christchurch and it seemed very probable from comparing known information that he was a connection.
I remember hearing that at least one of old Grandpa's brothers emigrated to the USA.
Granny Warren was Miss Selina Jones. I think a sister of her is (was) a Mrs Pilcher at Otahuhu. Another sister married Mr Gravatt, and the Gravatts who lived at Leigh and now in Dargaville, were from that family. It was one of Selina's niece's, Edith Amelia who married Charles Edward Gravatt.
I remember hearing of someone referred to as Aunty Kate who lived in Australia. I think she was another sister. There was a person named Lizzie Jackson. She and her husband taught music at the Blind Institute. I am not sure where Lizzie Jackson fitted in - whether she was a sister of Selina or a niece. I think probably the latter.
For two or three years in the 1980's I went to a hairdresser in Takapuna named Ian Gravatt who was the son of the Snells Beach Gravatts. There was also a Mick Gravatt (Ian's uncle) who played in the same band as my father, Phil, in the early 1950's.
My parents, Phil and Maida took us to Great Barrier Island for the first time in the summer of 1967 when I was 12 years old and since then I have visited a few times as an adult.
We flew in with the famous Captain Ladd on one of the seaplanes which, at that time, was the best and quickest way to get to the Barrier. Moira and George had 4 children, Ann, Geoff and twin daughters, Linda and Helen. They were a few years older than us and we thought they were so grown up. I don't remember Ann being there on that visit but Geoff and the twins were and we thought they were just wonderful.
Because there were five of us plus our cousins the easiest way to get around the island was for us all to sit on the back of Uncle George's flat bed truck. None of the roads were sealed back then and the roads for us city kids seemed very narrow. My most lasting memory was listening to The Monkees singing Daydream Believer on the back of that truck on my cousin's transistor radio.
|The Lena on the right|
My grandfather Norman owned several boats including the two mentioned in Moira's memoires. He owned the Tauri, Roko, the Lena, Maroro (which I saw on the beachfront and rotting at Blind Bay on the Barrier, MV Gunner (a double ender which I last saw at Bayswater) and I think he also owned a boat called Cremorne.
Aunty Moira married George Mason, who also grew up in Port Fitzroy, and who became the local constable and stayed in that role for over 40 years on the Barrier.
There is a track in Rarohara Bay (commonly known as Forestry Bay) called Warren's Track and it leads up to the waterfall. The old house is long gone but the foundations are still there just behind the house on the left-hand side of the bay (looking from the water) which is owned by DOC and lived in by one of the DOC staff.