Memories from Springfield Road Bradshaws from the 1920s

Fred Bradshaw stretches back down the years to remember the families and the good times growing up in and around Haumoana.

Albert Bradshaw decided to move from Whakatu to Haumoana in the late 1920s after their doctor advised it would be best for the health of his Daisy who had developed asthma.

Albert had come to New Zealand from Staffordshire, England in 1911, called in at Napier on the way to Gisborne and decided to stay. Daisy Walters had emigrated from England with her parents and met and married Albert in Whakatu at the time the freezing works was being built.

Albert and Daisy Bradshaw, who started the store at Whakatu after WW1 moved to Haumoana for Daisy’s health

On Albert’s return from service in WW1, they built a general store opposite the Whakatu works. When their youngest Frederick (Fred) was born, they already had two children; Bob who was two years old and Ivan who was attending Napier Boys High School.

When Daisy developed asthma they were advised to sell up and move to the seaside; so they sold their store to a Mr Dillon and moved to Springfield Rd, Haumoana, to a house previously owned by either the Brownlee or Agnew family.

After clearing away the land around the house, which was overgrown with blackberry, they discovered an old tennis court. In later years’, says their son Fred, great use was made of that tennis court, with tennis balls at times having to be retrieved from the Haumoana lagoon. Its use as a roller skating rink was also an attraction for many of the locals.

Frederick Rawhiti Bradshaw, who was born in 1926, attended Haumoana School, became a radio officer on coastal cargo ships, married Hazel in 1950 and had two children, Mark and Julie. He became a “cropping farmer”, orchardist and later Apple and Pear Board manager.

Fred Bradshaw as cargo ship radio officer

Growing up, he recalls that across the Haumoana lagoon was the holiday home of the Armour family. Mr W.A. Armour, had been Headmaster of Napier Boys' High School in the 1920s, and was headmaster of Wellington College in the 1930s. They had six children; Alex, Allan, Marjorie, Alison, Frank and Jim.

Across the lagoon, he says,the Armours had a boat moored. “When they went back to Wellington they left it with us so we got pretty good at rowing.”

Late 1930s Bob Bradshaw, aged about 17-years, in the late 1930s with sail boat he won, testing its seaworthiness on the pond at Springfield Rd, Haumoana. Bob, who won the prize for developing “a lovely garden”, lost his life in WW2.

Immediate neighbours to the Bradshaws in Springfield Rd were the Gerrards, Dewsons and Keong families, and across the road a bach owned by Napier lawyer Victor Langley, his wife Amy, and daughters Audrey and Nola.

The Somervilles, with two daughters Cathie and Betty, had a small holding including an apple orchard. The father ‘Chum’ Sommerville worked on Clifton Station and he and Fred’s father Albert were mates from WW1.

There were two stores in the village, R. P. McCarthy provided a weekly delivery locally, and the original Post Office store was run by Mrs Bambry for much of its life and later Vin Morris.

An infrequent bus service was run to Hastings, and a Friday night service into town was well patronised by locals.

“Sunday was observed strictly in our family, that was God's day and we went to Sunday School and later Bible class, Mr R.H. Florence was the stalwart of that group, the church was shared between the Church of England and the Presbyterians,” said Fred.

School holiday jobs

Every boy in the area was after jobs in the school holiday, and in the 1930s Fred got his sitting on the front of Derek van Asch’s combine harvester which he had engineered to be a self-propelled threshing mill.

Fred’s job was using a pitch fork to make sure the rye grass fed on to the pickup correctly.

“I got a great thrill when he showed me how to drive a brand-new Allis-Chalmers model B tractor and left me to mow several paddocks of ripe grass seed (when) I was about 14.

Ivan Bradshaw, Fred's brother, trying out the new tractor, a diesel-powered Ferguson during potato-growing era, 1950-1960s

His older brother Ivan ended up working at Craggy Range station. “I used to bike up the Tukituki Road to Craggy Range, sometimes stayed with them, it was wonderful as a horse would be provided and I could accompany Ivan on jobs around the station. It was a big place of several thousand acres, I remember one paddock being named the drome because Piet van Asch, (who later founded Aerial Mapping) would land his plane there.

Alf Phillips was a contractor with a hay baler and another jobs boys vied for was tying the wire bound bales.

Pilcher’s steam driven stationary mill which farmers used for threshing rye grass also created a few jobs.

During the longer summer holidays of the early 1940s, luxuries were out and people tried anyway they could “to earn a few bob”. The occasional work came up with Mr Greening picking tomatoes in his glasshouses.

Fred recalls in his teenage years camping out at Cape Kidnappers overnight. “We would bike along the beach when the tide was fairly well out. “At that stage the Cape was very rat infested and keeping your food intact was quite an operation, sometimes we would try fishing or going out on Black Reef looking for sea eggs. You had to be very mindful of the state of the tide when you were on the low-lying rocks.

Sources: Memories of Haumoana life the late 1920s, F.R Bradshaw, interviewed for Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank, edited by Keith Newman

Photos from the F. R Bradshaw collection

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