Thursday 15 September 2005
Several of our people have held public office. They include Assid Corbin who was Mayor of Henderson, Joe Saba who was Postmaster of Pahiatua, a chap Alexander who was Mayor of Dannevirke and Gabriel Farry who was Mayor of Gore.
Joe George, Paula’s father, a gentleman who was always very popular with everybody, cut a dashing figure at the racecourse in the Members’ Stand. He raced a horse by the name of Cedar Bank (hence his nickname at the Club) and the horse won at its first start! One day at Wingatui he was with his trainer, Stan McKay and saw a young Gordon Lahood. Wanting to give Gordon a tip for the next race ( and not wanting his trainer to think he was telling the world ) he mumbled one word ‘urrba’ meaning number 4 in Arabic, and continued on his way. Gordon then ran all round the racecourse to find out from one of our crowd what the number ‘urrba’ was. Unfortunately, it took too long and he missed the race. The next time he saw Joe he said to him, ‘Can’t you speck f******* English!’
Bartons the Butchers deserve mention in our story. Our people were very loyal customers over the years. The owner, George Barton, was a charitable man when times were tough and the people of Dunedin never forgot. He had every contract worth mentioning – Hospitals, Shipping Companies and Halls of Residence. With branches in all the suburbs, everything he touched turned to gold. His trotter, ‘Indianapolis’ won three consecutive New Zealand trotting cups. However, his business, like many others, fell victim to the supermarkets and his sons didn’t have his edge in business.
Right opposite your home in Maitland Street is a two storied brick house built by the accountant, Mitson, the senior partner in Mitson Bell Accountants. The house is now owned by Eleanor and Kenneth Kallil. Its good to know that there are still some of our people in that street. As for Carroll Street, only Maria Coory down at one end and my sister Frieda and her husband, Frank Nidd at the upper end, still live there. But walk the street and it still radiates a feeling of the characters and events of bygone times. The memories are sacred.
I hope I haven’t bored you with my scrambled recollections but I feel strongly about of the old timers’ stories being lost. That would be such a waste. We should have recorded some of them before they died. Failing that, it falls to people like me to tell what we can, as well as we can. If these few pages have bored you, that’s the price you pay for being my friend. If not, just let me know and I’ll provide you with another stroll down Memory Lane.