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. 




23 comments:

  1. I would hope Conical Hill was the lower mound what with poor Mona hiking up it in a skirt! Nice pictures. New Zealand has such outstandingly beautiful mountains. When we were watching 'The Ring' movies it was hard to take my eyes off the scenery to keep track of what was happening in the movie!

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  2. A great story of the mountain climbers.
    I too have people on rocks in clothes that we wouldn't dream of climbing in!

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  3. Lovely family photographs that fit the theme so well.

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  4. Maybe Jack took all the pictures on the climb and didn't think about or want his own picture taken.

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    1. yes, you may well be right. I could ask my mother, but these days it's hard to get a sensible answer, sad to say.

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  5. A great ‘on the rocks’ post this week. I like the picture of Peter perched atop his. It would be interesting to know what the plaque said wouldn’t it?

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    1. just googled and found this on a Department of Conservation web site:
      Conical Hill Walk
      Time: 1 hr return

      Early this century Conical Hill was covered in tussock. Later a zigzag track was cut to reach the 550-metre summit with its magnificent view. A variety of exotic trees replaced the tussock – western hemlock, Lawson’s cypress, giant fir, Japanese cypress. Atlas cedar and laburnum are some of the more common species. At the summit a lookout offers a resting place and good shelter to view the Hanmer Basin. A plaque commemorates the work of Duncan Rutherford, an early settler who helped develop the Hanmer district. The track down from the summit on the other side meets up with Pawsons Road, which leads to Woodland Walk.

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  6. I enjoyed your scramble over the rocks Jo. (Pity about the exotic trees on Conical Hill.)

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  7. Darn it all -- your pictures have reminded me of some of mine that might have made a stronger entry for this week's prompt. I really like the picture of Peter on the rock; runner up is Jean and friends in Cashmere Hills. Wonderful collection -- makes me want to get outside (but it's too cold here today!).

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  8. Thanks for such a lovely ramble with your family up and down those rocks. I'm also struck by how everyone would just wear their nice clothes when walking, not ever assuming someone would invent "hiking" outfits one day. I wonder how it felt in a skirt, but even more if the women were in socks or stockings.

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  9. Oh my, a few of the perched photos are really high up! How lucky to have so many lovely family photos to go with this!

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  10. I wonder what it is that makes us want to climb to the top, wherever we are.Is it just that we don;t want to be outdone, that we want to defeat the difficulty of the climb, or do we just want to look at the marvellous view. Great pictures.

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    1. I think most people do it just for the views and the exercise, but mountaineers are probably motivated by those other reasons you suggest.

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  11. I would have loved to scrabble up to some of those places especially that volcanic plug but unfortunately probably couldn't do it now, even if I had the chance. I never knew wallabies had been introduced into NZ, shame they have become a pest - reminds me of the American grey squirrels introduced to the UK.

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  12. There are wires anchoring the Swallow Tail lighthouse on Grand Manan Island, south of New Brunswick, Canada. There are very strong easterly winds there, good thing the wires are there!!

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  13. Re: the addendum of the climb up St. Paul's Rock, did the youngest member of the group really climb in bare feet? If so - ouch! Nice added photographs.

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    1. Not sure, maybe she just took them off at the top to air her feet, but she was a hardy little country kid, and her Dad who wasn't with us only wore shoes on rare occasions. Now a sophisticated young lady, she just graduated from university and celebrated her 21st birthday last weekend. I remember when we got back to the car, my sister found she had lost an earring, and my husband ran back up to the top to look for it, unfortunately to no avail.

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    2. My sister has confirmed that her daughter V would have climbed barefoot, as she took after her father and seldom wore shoes back then. Now however she loves shoes and I believe has a good collection of them, taking after her grandmother Jean in that regard.

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  14. I wonder if the wires were some kind of "inverted-vee" radio aerial? Hanmer Srpings is lovely, although I've only ever spent one night there, including a dip at the picturesque hot springs.

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  15. I love the photo of the well-dressed folk up on Cashmere Hills.

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  16. These photos are great. I love the story they tell!

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  17. A fine collection of family photographs showing their outings and activities. Interesting how nearly everyone has a photograph of someone sitting on a rock.

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