Friday night parading as a teenager in the 1940s
HAMILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAMME
YOUTH ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW WITH : Bill Pope
DATE : 9 June, 1995
INTERVIEWED BY : Jan Lindsay
ABSTRACT BY : Jan Lindsay
|Wartime [cont]||Politics and Crime|
|Additional notes (unrecorded)|
Click on a speaker icon to hear the interview.
|Tape 1 Side 1
||Tape 1 Side 2
Gives background to family living at Tauwhare, their arrival in the area in 1910, the farms `...it was just one farm inside the confiscation line..', and roads. Describes how area was a separate community because of difficulty of mobility. As a child, only came into Hamilton once a month. Mentions school. Describes social life of the community, village hall, the itinerant movie projector. `...park his caravan sideways...and project through the open doorway...fine if there weren't too many moths around...looked like eagles on the screen'.
Describes farm practice, separating cream. Recalls that farmers were generally poor.
Recalls Tauwhare pa.
Describes more farm life, all family worked very hard. Community worked together, for eg. haymaking.
Recalls that religion part of life, Sunday School etc, but not big part.
Relates how family holidays didn't exist. ` My father...telling me one time, that he had not slept away from the farm overnight for over 30 years.' Mentions that community life provided break from work, like sports days.
Started school at age six because of depression.
Describes Technical College. Remembers Whampoa Fraser and describes him - son of Presbyterian missionaries in China, named for Whampoa river. Speaks of him with great regard. Remembers his remarkable memory.
Remembers also teachers Nigel Barclay, O'connor's. Describes respect of pupils towards teachers, partly because of corporal discipline and how high school was a choice therefore pupils were keen. Remembers Hamilton High School, rivalry, attitudes between two schools.
Explains how having to travel on bus excluded him from sports and social activity while at school.
Doesn't remember war being discussed at school.
Doesn't recall air raid drills.
Explains how career directions discussed, determined by W. Fraser and parents when enrolling at school. Talks about the distinction between academic streams at school.
Talks about gaining School Certificate, UE. and Public Service Entrance and how there wasn't much to gain continuing at school.
Describes his first part-time job with Mr. S.B. Syms, a surveyor, as a chainman. Assisted in sub-dividing land in Wharepunga, east of Otorohanga, for farms for returning serviceman. Also pegged property for new water reservoir in Forest Lake Road.
Describes character of Syms and nature of work. Had to leave because returning serviceman claimed job.
Started with D.E.Street and after 3 years went to Japan with J Force.
Remembers Hiroshima- shanty's, didn't think too deeply about it at that time. Discusses differences in young people's concerns and perceptions then and now.
Recalls attitude to taking a job and interview with Mr. Street. Initial offer of wages was only 25 shillings a week but began at 30 shillings to cover board of 25 shillings.
Discusses apprenticeship wages.
Recalls building boom during war. Talks about building business in Hamilton. Engaged in essential building work. Recalls that there was no private building and buildings left uncompleted during war, for eg. Te Kuiti Post Office. Talks about scarcity of building supplies and black-market.
Recalls that it was one of oldest parts of Hamilton - and that it was settled in response to land speculators pushing prices up on West side of the river. Doesn't feel it had a strong community feel.
Once he was working had lot of spare time, particularly in the summer. Describes involvement with Achilles canoe club, `loose association of about a dozen guys with home made canoes'. Recalls canoe races, putting on events in the annual regatta. Talks about regatta - rowing, canoeing, swimming. Remembers ` occasionally some clowns would jump off the bridge'. Mentions several interesting characters - George Palmer, for his speed boats, unusual at that time.'He used to roar up and down the river'. Also Jerry Wright-St Clair who aqua-planed before the days of water skiing. ` His antics impressed us greatly'.
Describes a holiday trip to Port Waikato, by canoe, camping.
Remembers dance halls, the Regent, Pearsons hall and Frankton town hall. Remembers they were well attended. Also went out to any `neighbouring village' for dances. Recalls that they were generally same kind of music, dances. Remembers American influence in some new dances.
Remembers buying song books, popular songs, used to sing, play guitar in groups. Doesn't remember listening to the radio a great deal.
Remembers five theatres in Hamilton, well attended, standing for Anthem. Remembers the cartoon before the main feature. Feels movies influenced young people greatly, recalls movies which influenced him.
Describes how important Friday night was to keep in touch with friends, ` as far as your Friday night parading was concerned it didn't extend really north of Ward St and the centre of it all was what was Pascoes corner...river side of Victoria street was very much more important then than it is now.'
Remembers Monte Carlo milk-bar and milk splits.
Remembers American serviceman in Hamilton and impressions they made, `they used to drive their great big half-tracks around town and their jeeps, generally show off and impress us.' Didn't feel they really affected him. Reiterates feeling that the war was simply part of life because of their age. Remembers feeling of disappointment as a teenager that he was just too young to go into armed services. Tells story of registering at age eighteen for war service, `automatically on my birthday I went along to the Post Office to register and I can still remember being told, the war finished three days ago, didn't you know!' Tells how he made a particular study of the `machinery' of war.
Remembers V.E. day. Celebrations. Canoe club provided a float, dressing up.
Describes more of Japan during the occupation, describes Tokyo after incendiary bombing, ` square miles of nothing' and how anything that could be remotely connected with war was further destroyed. Remembers how utterly down the people were and describes fully his impression of the Japanese character - that it was obvious that they were a powerful force in the sense of their love for discipline and organisation.
Wasn't aware as a teenager of feeling towards the Japanese during the war, didn't think stories had come out then.
Politics and Crime
Didn't think young people had much awareness of politics, though remembers election night in Victoria St.- Results come out from the Times office and people on veranda of
Commercial hotel making speeches and cheering.
Remembers and describes local policeman in Hamilton East - methods of sorting problems out.
Didn't recall any vandalism.
Additional notes (unrecorded)
-Told story of telephoning nurses at hostel, arranging to pick them up by canoe from west side of river bringing them over to Hamilton East.
-Remembered that the three nights that 6 o,clock closing was simply ignored in Hamilton were V.E. day, V.J. day, and the day that Waikato won the Ranfurly shield in 1951.
-Remembers police on the beat crossing the road to avoid illegal gambling (Crown and Anchor), which was run for patriotic funds.