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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Horses and Holidays

This week's prompt shows some horses being led to drink from a stream. My mother and her immediate family were not horse people, and I don't have any photographs of horses drinking, but here are three horse photographs from my mother's early albums. The first one shows my mother's sister Patricia as a young child in about 1924, tentatively trying out a horse. From the right hand side of the photograph, it looks like this is possibly at a beach somewhere. With Pat is her father Jack Morrison.

This next photograph, entitled "Horse riding at Caroline Bay". It was taken in the early 1930s and shows my mother Jean taking a turn at riding.  Caroline Bay is a beach at the town of Timaru, some two hours south of Christchurch on the South Island of NZ. I think that is Aunty Bess walking beside Jean. Timaru was then and still is a popular beach resort.  Jean and her sister Pat were taken to Timaru by their maiden aunties Bess and Flo Forbes, who always helped their sister Mona Morrison out with her family of six children. They may well have been visiting acquaintances there.

I found the following poem called "Caroline Bay" in the Press of 21 December 1923, in a promotional article describing iTimaru as 'the ltown of Sunshine' and the leading seaside bathing resort of the Dominion. Another article referred to it as the Riviera of the South.

Snipped from the invaluable Paperspast web site.

Here are Pat and Jean perching on a rock overlooking Timaru Harbour on their holiday. This reminded me of my own visit to Timaru in 2013, when I photographed a local fur seal sunning himself on some very similar harbourside rocks.  

Views of Timaru Harbour from the rocks and of the attractive parkland above the beach in 2013:

I particularly like the following photograph, which is simply entitled "A little visitor from Canvastown". Living in the country, this young boy would have been a capable horse rider, come to check out whoever was visiting the Morrison family. Jean visited her uncle Bill Morrison and his family there in about 1947. 

This matching photograph taken by Jean in 1947 is of her Uncle Bill's home, the same little home in which Bill's parents/Jean's grandparents Daniel and Mary Bridget lived and had 15 children, 11 of whom survived.

 Canvastown in Marlborough NZ was the town where Jean's grandparents Daniel and Mary Bridget Morrissey aka Morrison lived, and their son Jack took his family went up there from Christchurch for farm holidays. Daniel and Mary Bridget had settled there not long after arriving from Cork Ireland in 1875 and raised a large brood in a very basic little house. Jean remembered that it had newspapers lining the walls and none of the conveniences of her parents' relatively modern home in Christchurch. Her cousin Valerie Coleman recalled that there was no plumbing or electricity in the house and meals were cooked in black iron pots that hung from iron rods over an open fire place. Mary Bridget worked endlessly to keep the household going. On wash days she drew water from  the hand pump to fill the copper that sat outside in a paddock, and then stoked the fire to boil clothes. A horse story passed down by Valerie's mother Eileen told of how her mother Mary Bridget had said that on one occasion back in the 1880s Daniel had arrived home with no pay from a month's work, and after a 'showdown' revealed that he had called in at a local hotel and apparently had bet his wages against a man called Joe that his pony could beat Joe's in a race. Needless to say Dan's horse lost. Mary Bridget jumped on the pony and rode back to the pub, where she demanded the money back from Joe, who insisted it was a fair bet and fairly run. However after a few arguments he paid up, although not in full.

Here is a photograph from about 1929/30, showing the three Morrison children gathered beside the local river, either the Pelorus or the Waimakarina, with their cousin Valerie, mentioned above. It looks like the same conical shaped hill in the distance.

Jean, Ken, Pat and Valarie

This photograph from another family visit in about 1933/4, shows Daniel and Mary Bridget Morrison at home in Canvastown, with two of their sons, Jack and Stanley, and Jack's eldest three children, Pat, Ken and Jean.  Mary Bridget died in 1935 and Daniel in 1945.

A number of Jean's Morrison cousins still live in the Marlborough district, and up until quite recently Cousin Denny Morrison in nearby Nelson operated a horse and carriage business for weddings and funerals.

Enough rambling around my family history in New Zealand for this week. To read more blogs inspired by this week's topic, just click here to go to Sepia Saturday #271.

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