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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Days in the hills

No mountaineering composers or telescopes in my mother's collection, but I did find a few photos that include climbing and rocks. The first two were taken by Ian of Jean on their honeymoon in April 1950, on top of Botanical Hill in Nelson, in the north of the South Island of New Zealand. It's an easy climb, only 147 m, but a plaque at the top proclaiming it as the geographical centre of New Zealand, although in fact the true centre is some 55 km south of this point.

At the trig station on Botanical Hill

A pensive study of Jean

I thought this next little series of snaps would also be appropriate for this week's theme, as again it depicts a climbing expedition. In August 1951 Jean and Ian were able to enjoy a few days away, staying in a cabin at Mountain View Camp, Hanmer Springs, north of Christchurch NZ. Hanmer Springs is best known for its hot springs and thermal pools, but the area is also popular with skiers in winter and hikers in the warmer months. Jean's parents Mona and Jack Morrison and her youngest brother Peter came up to stay a night in the cabin with them and the next day the party climbed up nearby Conical Hill. There are no pictures of Jack on the climb however, and I wonder if perhaps he stayed on guard down at the cabin, having retired a few years earlier with apparent heart trouble. The loss of his eldest son Ken in the RAF and the stresses of his job as Stamp Duties Commisioner had taken its toll, but he then took up lawn bowls and lived to enjoy almost 30 years of retirement.

Peter, Ian and Jack at the cabin, with Mona peeping out the doorway

The view from Mountain View Camp. Presumably Conical  Hill is either the first or perhaps the second hill in the foreground, but definitely not one of the snowy peaks.

Jean perching on the rocks

Mona in sight of the summit

Peter conquers the summit rock, with a plaque commemorating an early settler in the Hanmer district

Peter standing in the tussock grass, with snowy peaks in the distance

Scenic view from the top of Conical Hill

Ian and Mona resting at the summit

Not sure what the purpose of those wires would be, perhaps to secure it in strong winds?

Ian giving Jean a piggyback ride on the way down? Meanwhile Mona ploughs ahead in the background, perhaps anxious to get back to Jack at the camp and head home to Christchurch

A dignified portrait of Jack Morrison in later life, stepping off the plane in Sydney c 1973. After Mona passed away in 1972, he came over from NZ on a visit to Jean, Ian and family, suitably behatted for the occasion. Jack died in 1977.

Another rock sitting shot that I couldn't pass by, of Jean with some friends up in the Cashmere Hills on the outskirts of Christchurch. They look rather well-dressed for climbing though!

Addendum, 28.2.2014:
Forward to 2002, and here are some descendants of Jean and Ian, namely their 2 daughters ,3  grandchildren and son-in-law, conquering a hill called St Paul's Rock, for obvious reasons, which is a volcanic plug in the Bay of Islands in the far north of NZ. We were visiting my sister who lives in the area.

Spectacular views of Whangaroa Harbour, as you can see from this photo taken on the way up. A short climb, but quite steep in parts.
A storm was threatening, and I remember we had to scramble to get back down before the rain arrived. We almost made it, but did get a little wet before reaching the car.

It was windy up there!

Now, make like a rock wallaby and hop on over to Sepia Saturday 217

Rock wallaby and baby, from Wikipedia. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Rock wallabies are an endangered native species in Australia, but some were successfully introduced to New Zealand, where on some islands their numbers have reached pest proportions and are regularly culled. New Zealand has no native animals, so introduced species there such as possums and wallabies  have no natural predators. Out of interest, the original name of our house, Wirreandah, is an aboriginal word meaning 'gum tree where rock wallabies hide'. No gum trees here now however, and I haven't noticed any rock wallabies hiding anywhere, although we certainly have possums aplenty.