Thursday 1 September 2005

Joseph George, Paula’s grandfather, owned a shoreline farm in the Catlins, South Otago. One stormy night in 1932, the ship, Manuka, was wrecked only a mile or so from his farm. It was a passenger liner doing a ‘horse shoe’ run taking a Dunedin, Bluff, Melbourne, Sydney route. My mother Rosie, was staying on the farm at the time with her uncle, Joseph and her cousin, Katy Langston. When the settlers heard of the ship being wrecked close to the shore they rushed to help with food and blankets. They even lit fires on the beach. Old Joseph went into the surf and helped pull people to safety. Luckily, there was no loss of life. However, the settlers received no word of thanks from either the insurance company of or the Tory Government. Old Mr George’s only thanks was to lose everything during the
Depression and have to walk off his farm. Sometimes life deals us lousy scripts.

A circus came to Dunedin in the late twenties / early thirties and pitched its big top on the Market Reserve. One young Lebanese kid got into a bit of bother there (probably stole an elephant!!?) and received a good hiding. When his father found out he went down to the circus and got even with his son’s bully. A rumour ensued that on Sunday the circus troupe were going ‘clean out’ Carroll Street and this proved to be only too true. Now, those Aussie Showmen would not have been pushovers and what transpired was this. As they surged up Hope Street, eight of our ‘warrior types’ locked arms and hands by the Rugby Hotel and met them head on . My dad, Fred Arab. Locked the scrum and that was one game the Aussies lost to New Zealand!
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