“It was much colder in those days••••”
Icicled 12 volt hydro in the Beemam Creek after a blizzard in 1947.
Diesel generator and accumulator bank is in the small shed up the
hill, with the basalt bulk of Beeman in the back. (Photo Les Attwood)
CAMPBELL-RAOUL ISLANDS' ASSOCIATION (INC.)
NEWSLETTER Vol 2 Number 1 DECEMBER 1971
Association Officers 1971 - 72
Air Vice-Marshall A. H. Marsh C.B.E.
|Ian Bailey||John Caskey|
|John Walden||M. Butterton|
|Len Chambers||H. Carter|
|Robin Foubister||H. Hill|
|Tom Taylor||I. Kerr|
|Ralph Hayes||C. Taylor|
Peter (Pierre) Ingram
THE COMMITTEE'S NEW FACES:
We welcome Len Chambers (R49) and John Walden (R69) to a committee that has been reduced by three members this year. Dave Thorp (R64) has resigned after two years service due to heavy outside committee activities, Ed de Ste Croix (C61, 65 and R68) has just left for a three year term at Chatham Islands, Dave Leslie (R62 and 64) is about to look for pastures greener, Bob Rae (that multiple Campbell tripper on loan to New Zealand) is now managing the Sailor's Home, Sturdee Street in Auckland and Richard Lovegrove (R63, 64 and 69) has gone off to - of all places - Vietnam (see Member's Comment Column). Ian Bailey (R65) once again moves in to take over Richard's work, as he did in 1969 when Dick went off to Raoul for his third trip. John Caskey (C56 and 57) fortunately still sits on the money box and Ralph Hayes (C53 and 54), Robin Foubister (C67) and Tom Taylor (R47 and 50) sit in for a further session. For myself (R62 and C64), I have completed half of my apprenticeship as Chairman/President cum editor. Patron AVH Anthony Harsh, CBE, has now finished his contract as medical director to the RAAF and moves on to the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health.
STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE:
The Association now enters its fifth year with a membership of 113 and an extension to the mailing list brings in 15 Government or allied departments to receive our quarterly Newsletters. We have a further 154 names and addresses of past expedition members on our cards and from time to time we try to encourage these fellows to join. This latter list is therefore far from defunct and has its additions and subtractions actioned with normal frequency. You will have noted from the treasurer's report sent to you prior to the AGM/Reunion, that the Association funds are in good health and the retention of current membership rates can be extended to cover the 1971/72 financial year - the $2 subscription having been introduced at the 1968 AGM and the bargain buster $5 for a period of three years becoming available to members at the 1969 AGM.
THE 1971 REUNION:
We slipped on the attendance this year, only 71 bodies present against the 113 of 1970, 102 of 1969 and 95 of 1968. This lower figure would most certainly seem to come from the fact that committee decided to mail notice of AGM and reunion only to financial members and those having remained unfinancial for a period not greater than one year. The idea was to prevent expenditure of funds on members who remained persistently unfinancial. However, it is the major function of the reunion to bring together as many as possible. It will always create a few new members and increase in totals provides a small margin of profit which could well cover the additional costs of postage and stationery. We broke even with 71 this year, and it is with no doubt that we all had an excellent swinging evening. Compliments to the Chef for the finest supper yet and the committee's thanks to Doctor Janet Brown for her bright and breezy address - her task for graciously accepting our invitation to be Guest-of-Honour for the evening.
FOR THE ENLIGHTMENT OF ALL:
When I was browsing the shelves of a well-known bookshop in Wellington recently, the sounds of Saturday night rugby debates echoed back from the islands. They usually commenced at 9 pm and could be extended to 2 am in the following morning, depending on the level of the fever recorded by more fortunate countrymen who could actually visit the sport's respective venues during the season. Skill scores were subconsciously tallied from an opponent's knowledge of dates, players names and positions, outstanding and successful movements, scores in past major fixtures - and the novice's favoured grappling iron to recognition - a general knowledge of past international tours. Debates were always conducted in a rational manner and I was always eliminated in the opening rounds, so that I would be compelled to force a one sided discussion about yachting onto a fellow member who was possibly prone to dizziness at the mere mention of the 'Holmburn' by name. In the library were authoritative tomes on fish species, bird calls, crabs and cooking, but nothing on rugby. To cram a course was impossible. You had to come armed with the knowledge in your head from New Zealand.
I looked hard at Gordon Slatter’s new 374 page book, 'On the Ball', The Centennial Book of NZ Rugby 1870-1970, bought two copies and hurried from the shop to catch the mail. (The committee purchases a book on behalf of the Association members, for presentation to each outgoing expedition to place in the islands reference libraries. This was the third consecutive annual presentation).
THIS QUARTER'S CONTRIBUTIONS:
Lean in favour of Raoul Island. Brian Bell's and R.H.Taylor's publication, 'The Wild Sheep of Campbell Island' was to have been the main article, but Dr M. F. Soper who has agreed to illustrate it with his photographs, is out in the wild country of Westland until Christmas, so we have held their contribution over to the next issue. Campbell is therefore represented only by tile OIC's quarterly report, a 1963 QSO by Lew Sharman, and an insight into cooking techniques at Tucker Camp back in '55, forwarded by George Poppleton. Major contributor is Doctor Janet Brown, who, by popular request of those attending the fourth Reunion, surrendered the complete text of her dinner speech to the editor to publish and put on record what a female medical observer notices in those males that go out to the islands each year. Doctor Janet, until recently was Deputy to the Principal Medical Officer of the Ministry of Transport and now continues a busy career as Director of Extramural Services for the Wellington Public Hospital. Welcome to our pages Janet and I hope our quarterly publication will continue to keep you with us and update you on the latest happenings.
Of varied vintage follow the balance of articles. In Member's Comment column is an account of the 1938 tropical storm that involved Raoul Island. Alf Bacon was there to see it all, a youngster of 66 years of age at the time. I recently had a loan of Alf's journal on raoul, kindly forwarded by his son Stan in Kerikeri. From his writings will come a three part 'Journal of Events' to be published in 1972.
THE SEASON'S GREETINGS:
In years to come, surely most will say that 1971 was the fastest year in known memory. It had 365 days like most of the others and our watches tell us that every day saw another 24 hours. Was it the packed and varied events that filled the New Zealand scene that suddenly leaves us with only a fortnight to Christmas, or are we just growing old? Certainly not the latter. If our last two teams to the islands feel short changed by time - there is only one way open to them - sign up again. But the festive season has always been welcome and we are not too sorry to yield to its 'premature'pressure and enjoy the brief period of well wishing and well-being that is the climax of our year. The committee wishes you all a fun-filled Christmas and every success in 1972.
Conducted by the Editor
Another interesting historical fact uncovered by Don Merton, Wildlife Section. In a note to me recently he says that Haszard Island (the abrupt 8 acre castaway plateau to Macauley’s eastern side) was originally recorded as Roach's Isle in Captain Sever's ('Lady Penrhyn' 1788) unpublished log. Charles Roach was a "very good seaman" and quarter- master on the 'Lady Penrhyn’ and it was he who actually first sighted Curtis and Macauley Island in 1788. "Probably we should revert to the original name," suggests Don.
New member but old hand, Trevor Buck, now Postmaster at Miramar, has undercut Ian Lavin's (on Raoul for a second term) record on youth. In a letter to the Association treasurer he says: "To me it is most interesting to read Raoul items and learn what has taken place since my term of 1944/45. I was interested in the opinion in Newsletter No.11, page 16, para. 5, in which it was stated Ian Lavin would be a strong contender for the youngest Expeditioner to ever go to the islands. Young yes, but there were younger, even myself. At 17 I was a Radio Operator at ZLW before being seconded to the Public Works, seconded to the Aerodrome Services, seconded to the Army, seconded to the Coast Watching Unit. I had my 18th birthday 2 days out from Raoul. On Raoul I was a Coast Watcher, Radio Operator, Meteorologist and Ionosphere Observer. There were other Post Office personnel of similar age on Raoul, Aucklands and Campbell before and after this time.
"In the latest issue an item by Tom Taylor has me scratching my head. He quotes late 1945 as the first of the Niue Island boys. I don't know when this was but there were certainly 8 Niue boys when I arrived in mid-1944. They were well established on the Low Flat even then. The full-time Coastwatchers those stationed on Moumoukai, Boat Cove, etc, left on the same boat I came on, the ‘Tagua’. I still chuckle at the one gross of contraceptives kindly sent to us by the Red Cross.”
(Glad to have you with us, Trevor. Ed.)
Hardy three time tripper to Campbell and international Met Slave John Squibb turned up in New Zealand during September. After managing a pub in London's Earls Court, he tried his hand in South Africa and then Western Australia. But the call of the South was too great and so he is signed up for a year's tour of Australia's ice bound Davis, sailing from Melbourne in the 'Magga Dan' on the 12th December. What does 1973 hold for John ? Why, another turn on the beer pump in London's swinging pubs. Some chaps never give in.
Here is a small but interesting account of the passage of a tropical depression which struck Raoul in 1938. It has been taken from the late Alf Bacon's journal which will be reprinted in three separate episodes during next year.
"The hurricane came from the North and I have often read of these high winds and what havoc they can play, but no one can realise what force they have until one is actually experienced, I saw great pohutukawa trees torn right out by the roots and blown clear away. On some of the steep faces of the island, anyone would think to look at them that a great slip had taken place, where this hurricane had torn all the great trees out and hurled them away into other parts of the bush. Other places where hundreds of tall saplings, growing very close together, were laid flat in all directions, so that it was impossible to get through. Our banana plantation was a sorry sight to look at, passion fruit that were just getting ripe were strewn all over the ground, so thick that one could not walk without treading on them. The whole island was enveloped in a dense salt spray and afterwards looked as if a fire had gone over and singed all the outer branches of the trees. But the rapid growth of vegetation soon covered the track of the hurricane. Then came a tragedy. While the hurricane was on, one of the Government men, the leader, went to see if any of the stores could be salvaged. He took Bruce and one of his own men along with him. They had to pass at the foot of a cliff to get to where the stores were, but he was cautioned by Bruce who could see the danger, not to go. But he would not heed the warning and was caught by a wave which came tearing in at a great rate. It took him away, dashing him on the rocks midst the boiling mass of water and was found three days after, a mile from the scene of the accident with every bone in his body broken so that we had to carry him on a board to our little cemetery.
After the hurricane had finished its destruction and washing away some of the foreshore we were on the beach to do some work and we noticed, on a bank about 20 feet above the beach, a skeleton of a man, some 8 feet below the original surface, evidently a Maori, perhaps who died there during the migration in the 14th century. The bones were too soft to do anything with, crumbling on one's fingers, but the teeth were sound and could bear handling."
Richard Lovegrove suddenly upped and offed to Vietnam during October - not in anger, but on a mission to mete out mercy with the New Zealand Surgical Team in Qui Nhon. The fifteen man team with Richard as its Administration Officer, will complete their year under this extension of the Colombo Plan in a hospital complex catering for some 500 civilians. Grinding home the two miles in the Monsoon mud would make a Bell’s Ravine washout a small matter.
Stan Bacon writes in a recent note, "One point of interest will be that Johnny Wray's old boat ‘Ngataki’ is now anchored in the Kerikeri Inlet and we can see her mast from our lounge. She is still the same as when Dad, Bruce and his other friend sailed with Johnny from Auckland about 193?." Seems as though this grand old girl is destined to grace our harbours for a long time yet. I wonder if her bowsprit is pointing to the Kermadecs.
SOME HASH SLINGING MEMOIRS OF 1955/56
From Tokoroa Hori
One or two memories that come to mind of the Tucker Cove days that should make for good reading:
As was then the custom, not having a cook, we all had to take our whack at it - some good, like W.T.who would do a week's cooking for his mates for a suitable fee. And I believe some of his Saturday night efforts were quite memorable.
Another character, F.D., who went to great lengths to obtain a recipe for fish cakes from home, using salmon. He made a great showing one Sunday morning by laying on quite a breakfast. He was about early for the six o'clock O.B. and went to great pains to prepare his fish cakes - six tins of very precious salmon, onions, breadcrumbs, seasoning and one cup of flour went into the making. At that time space was at a premium and the 4-gallon cans of cereals etc., were stacked down one side of the passage and from the miscellany of tins was obtained the flour. Every body was on hand and waiting for the fish cakes to be handed out. This was done with much ceremony. They looked good and smelt even better BUT he'd got into the icing sugar, not the flour !
The score was evened sometime later when it came to G ‘s, turn as hash mechanic. In those_ days the fowls laid under any old clump of tussock and periodically we did a pattern search of the area to replenish dwindling stocks. From memory, this effort yielded about 40 dozen, all duly tested by the flotation method, the duds ending up south of the "Grotto" and some of the balance hardboiled ready for a feed of curried eggs. G., not being able to eat curry, left the addition of this ingredient to one of the gang who shot a couple of spoonsful in, tasted immediately, decided there was insufficient and whacked in another couple for good measure. By the time the meal was served the full potency of the curry had worked its way into the dish with the obvious result. Ironically, F.D. was the first man to the top, the rest of the gang standing about for their turn were as discomforted as the Chinese lass who used the banisters for a short-cut.
QSO With ZL2IC, Napier
This amusing little tale of the bad old days on Campbell Island was given to me by Johnny Washer (Campbell 63/64) after he had earlier carried out a QSO with Lew Sharman (Campbell 45) on the night of 20th May, 1963. Editor.
We lived in an old hut in the valley behind Mt Beeman. We had 12 volt lighting and a small Tiny Tim petrol generator for charging, also an old water wheel arrangement which we dug out of the peat and fixed across the creek. I wonder if that anemometer is still up on that ridge to the north of the old hut? We put that darned thing up and we never worked so hard in our lives. We ran a multi-pair cable up the hill from the hut through the scrub. Are you still using it? Had a lot of trouble getting that mast up on the ridge and I will never forget the trouble we had getting all the gear up. We dug an old kind of hand winch out of the sea, or rather, the beach, which had been left by the sheep men who were there in the early 1930's and got it moving again after chipping the rust off and soaking it in kerosene and we used that to drag the big drum of cable from the beach to top of the hill. For some reason which I can't understand why we decided it would be easier to drag the whole drum of cable up to the top and let it run down than fix the drum at the bottom and pull the cable up.
Yes I remember that hut on Beeman where we did coast watching. We had a track from the hut over the saddle to the eastern side. When I arrived there, we had pot plants on the roof of the house for camouflage and when we walked on any sand beaches we had to drag a bit of scrub behind to erase footprints. That little hut across creek we used to call Grunt Grotto.
All our gear for years was dumped on the beach and we had to carry it up to the house in packs, including a few tons of coal. The 44 gallon drums of petrol were rolled into nearest gully and we then spent the rest of the year trying to manhandle them out. No ropes or winches. Don't suppose there is anything of the old sheep camp left. When we arrived the old shepherd's hut was still standing and their old pots and pans and dishes were still on the table. Suppose you have heard the story that they were left there and completely forgotten about for seven years I think. Then some bloke in Invercargill suddenly remembered them and sent a boat. They just dropped what they were doing and took off.
Are you living on wild sheep like we did? We killed two each week for the four of us. Do you see much auroual activity? Yes, I can still smell those old elephants. As a matter of fact I still have a large bottle here in the shed containing seal oil. We rendered it down from sea elephants' fat for waterproofing our boots and brought some back for same purpose, but now I am afraid to take top off as you can imagine what a stink it would be. Have you had mail there since the beginning of the year? You would be interested to hear that we had mail dropped by parachute for the first time in 1945 - it went about four feet into the peat. Greetings to the other fellows who are reading our mail over your shoulder. I suppose their beards tickle your neck. But maybe you need a haircut too. Its great to get the lowdown on present day conditions. I often think would like a trip back to look over the place but would not fancy the cold weather these days, after thirteen years in sunny Hawkes Bay the thought of snow makes me shudder. Had a laugh about the anemometer. We had the same experience with wind chargers. When they were sent down, they had huge great propellers about twelve feet long, and when we assembled them on those towers and let them go, they got faster and faster until the ground was shuddering and shaking for a distance of about fifty yards around, and all the blokes had to beat it. Then the props just disintegrated and we were left with just the hubs. When we reassembled them we had to cut the props down to about six feet diameter.
Ok about forty quid being lost in the peat bog. Well anybody who sent that amount down there deserved to lose it. I think I took two and six when I went there and still had two and six when we left. We arrived in January and had one boat before midwinter and then nothing more until the boat arrived to take us home the following Xmas.
We had mutton every day on the Island, and when I arrived back at Dunedin dreaming about nice juicy steaks, I sat down to the first meal in the pub and believe me they put on mutton. Guess, like us, you will be having big celebration midwinter. We had a big banquet. I Remember we had roast albatross chick, but the bloke detailed to knock it on the head didn't have the heart to do that to the defenceless thing, so he did it the humane way and gave it a dose of chloroform as it sat on its nest and when it was duly cooked and served up, we were all drooling at the thought of a change from mutton, but we found we could not eat the darned thing as the chloroform had penetrated right through the flesh.
Say, why don't you blokes get yourselves some meat? We used to go out every Monday morning, two of us with 22s and knock a couple of sheep over, and it was no use coming home without. Used to clean and skin them on the spot and bring the carcasses home in packs. We actually used very little tinned meat. We sometimes went well down harbour in the dingy to get nearer the sheep.
Incidentally there is another Elephant Islander here - Eric Ritchie who was here some years after me, I think in about 1958. Will tell him of this QSO when I see him tomorrow and I am sure he will be most interested. Thanks for the suggestion about making trip, would like it very much, but suppose it would take considerable amount of organising. All the best to you and all the boys down there.
RANDOM RAOULIAN REMARKS
noted by the Editor
More than 50,000 bushels of oranges could be grown there annually it has been estimated ... fully aware of its possibilities, they (the M.O.W.) bewail the factors which veto its commercial development, (The Dominion, 8/10/49)
YOU'LL HAVE TO DO BETTER...
The revenue of the office (Raoul Post Office) averaging 3/6d a month is derived from the sale of stamps with an occasional telegram helping to swell the totals.
(The Southern Cross,29/6/46)
SAY AGAIN ? ...
Soundings of the ionosphere, which determine the height of the various layers of the atmosphere, are taken every hour between 6 am and 7 pm. A balloon which measures the strength and intensity of the upper winds is released at 8 am and 2 pm
(The Southern Cross,29/6/46)
WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT THEM BACK ...
The department (P.W.D.) has planted 400 orange trees and these will be bearing within the next few years.
(Weekly News, 29/5/46)
A TRICKY SURF...
Sometimes the unhappy porter would get caught and come up the beach on his stomach, blowing salt water out of his mouth as if he had been charged with soda water.
(Weekly News, 29/5/46)
NEW PARADE GROUND FOR RAOUL…
“My excuse as a perfect stranger to you for addressing you in person (Weekly News, 29/5/46) is that I am a New Zealander by birth who has never lost his love for the land of his birth, and, as a result of 1,333 days of military service in the late war (1914-18), am convinced that the following information maybe of use." (Unknown writer to the Prime Minister on the pro-Japanese leanings of a would-be settler in the 1930's).
'FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO...
"Of course, the island being the top of a volcano, may take it in its head to blow up again some day", suggests Mr Lukins (P.W.D.) nonchalantly, seeing that his term of residence there has expired.
(The Evening Post, 30/7/40)
WON'T BE LONG NOW...
A proclamation published in last night's Gazette carries a step further the Government's expressed intention to establish a meteorological station on Raoul or Sunday Island.
(The Evening Post, 18/2/38)
GUARD OF HONOUR...
The most incongruous thing to greet the Governor General (Sir Bernard Fergusson) and his party on Raoul Island yesterday was a solitary parking meter.
(The Evening Post, 17/4/64)
And of how a brave man taught his daughter to play the violin and seven string banjo as the crews of passing whaling ships danced softly on the beach to the roar of the breakers while man eating sharks lay waiting outside of the coral reefs.
(Introductory paragraph on story of the Bell Family in the Vancouver Star, 9/2/58)
YOUR AIRLINER IS AT GATE 2
There is also a small airfield.
(Vancouver Star, 10/2/58)
MIRTH WITHOUT WORTH...
The next variety, the ho-ho, is a large, soft, useless tree.
(Vancouver Star, 10/2/58)
The pysonia is peculiar to the Kermadec Group. Small and slow growing, no matter how old it is, there is not a single particle of wood in the whole tree.
(Vancouver Star, 10/2/58)
HEIGHT OF LONELINESS...
“My mother, when she was young, used to row the two miles to the islands to get the birds when they were young so they could be trained to talk," (Mrs Edna Burrow talking of her mother Ada Edington (nee Bell) in the Vancouver Star, 11/2/58).
There they cleared five acres of jungle.
(The Bells move to the North Coast, Vancouver Star, 11/2/58).
"I was regaled with a very toothsome, though somewhat novel repast; the menu consisting of boiled mutton bird, fried banana and taro, washed down with a mug of delicious goat's milk."
(Evening meal at Low Flat, 1887. John Thompson Large in the Wairoa Guardian, 17/10/1888).
"As might be supposed, the ladies on the island do not affect the Paris fashions; I did not observe any dress improvers, (such as) crinolines, chignons, bangs or other faltherals, so dear to the mind in more civilised places." (John Thompson Large in the Wairoa Guardian, 1888).
THE DEPARTMENT IS LOOKING INTO IT...
"I venture to say, however, that this difficulty may be to a certain extent obviated by simple means in several places by making use of a wire rope, one end of which should be anchored out and the other fastened to the top of the cliffs, and down which cargo might be transported as on a wire tramway. This would be possible in several places and further, both at Fishing Rock and Boat Cove, cargo could be frequently shipped by means of a crane which would lift it beyond the wash of the waves."
(THE KERMADEC ISLANDS, S.Percy Smith, 1887)
REPORT FOR NEWSLETTER FROM O.I.C. RAOUL ISLAND
Embarked M.V. Holmburn after completing training courses, departed Wellington 11.30 am on 9th October. After clearing Wellington Heads, a south east swell was noticed by several members of expedition. These land lubbers were soon below deck, putting in a bit of 'flying time'. Amidships cargo deck resembled a 'Noahs Ark' with an ‘in calf' heifer (milking), romney ram and a host of pullets. This entailed a milking system and feeding programme.
Sunday evening 1900 hrs saw us a few miles north east of East Cape. A sked with ZME stated that we would arrive late on Wednesday. However, this was not to be. Morning saw us anchored in Hicks Bay shelter1ng from 'gale force winds and mountainous seas' to quote the East Cape lighthouse's 0600 obs. Two days sheltering and off for Raoul again. Friday 15th October saw us off Fishing Rock. Personnel ashore by 0900 and detailed to their allotted positions in the usual hectic three day rush.
The unloading went well with one incident putting a slight blight on the remaining party's stay. The entire 16 mm film supply slipped from the foxway into the tide. This has since been recovered.
The returning party made their farewell and the plaque was presented. This was highly original, as members will note at our next reunion. The new party has settled in well. With one member short at present everyone is pulling hard and we are making headway. We all look forward to a successful year and trust we leave the establishment as shipshape as Ron Craig and party did for us.
E. F. McGregor, O.I.C.
FACES IN OTHER PLACES
Ingoing Campbell Island Party 1971/2: (Offical MOT photo)
Back, left to right: John Wilkinson (Met), Chris Glasson (Ion),
Mark Crompton (Met), Dave Russel (Met), George Money (Telecom),
Front, left to right: Bill Clark (Mech), Brian Plummer (Tech), Vince Sussmilch (OIC),
Bruce Mexted (Cook), and already there: Neville Brown (Met,R68)
and Keith Herrick (Met,R69).
Point in Common:(Photo: Don Baker)
Left to right: Don Baker (SCR&C), Raoul MOT inspector '71; John Weir, Raoul farmer '71;
Colin Capper (C54, R56 & 58), Raoul MET inspector '71 and Tony Vietch in front, Raoul MET '71.
An informal reunion Weir's brief repat to NZ, prior return as farmer for 1972.
'Tucker' as a Going Concern: (photo: Lea Attwood C47)
L.M. 'Cookie' Douglas, radio operator, supports the front
entrance to the main building one grey Campbell day in '47.
Bully Beef by Boxes: (photo: Les Attwood C47)
Back left to right: Dennis 'Speed' Horan, radio op '48 and 2nd tripper
Mike Hutchings as leader for the '48 Party.
Front left to right: Eric Ritchie, radio op '48; Leo Hobbis, physicist '47
and Charlie Paaka, handyman '47 & ‘48, outside the foodstore.
REPORT FOR NEWSLETTER FROM 0.I.C. CAMPBELL ISLAND
After what could be termed a fast trip from Wellington for the M.V. Holmburn the 1971 Annual Servicing commenced. A fast changeover took place from 3rd October to 5th. Since then the 1971/2 expedition has settled in rapidly and enthusiastically to the station routine. This settling in no doubt has been aided by the tidy condition in which the previous expedition left the station. We are indeed also fortunate to have Neville Brown and Keith Herrick staying on until the end of the summer season.
Just two weeks after our arrival the fishing boat M.V. Picton turned up the harbour. On board were a party of prospectors who spent two days geologizing around Perseverance Harbour and in the North West Bay area. By the end of this time with apparent negative results the gold fever which was near epidemic proportions amongst the islanders was brought under control. However, opal hunting continues. By kind invitation of Captain Aberdeen 5 islanders, complete with cans under arms, went aboard the Picton and spent an enjoyable Sunday out from the Island fishing. The usual Campbell Island hospitality was reciprocated in the form of a grand dinner put on by our cook Bruce Mexted and a party followed.
Towards the end of October an easterly storm with numerous gusts over 100 knots brought us up with a round turn and gave the station quite a shredding. Masts collapsed, windows broke, doors blew in and parkas almost had to be worn inside from the leaking roofs. One piece of flying marsden matting landed on the power house roof and another wiped off one of the diesel generator exhaust systems. Considering the apparent aerodynamic qualities of this matting there are thoughts of building an aircraft.
As everyone is eager to look around the island, Sunday, regardless of the weather sees the station almost deserted except for the met man on duty. The new hut at North West Bay is frequently visited and every one agrees that this is a credit to its constructors. Much interest is being shown in the wildlife studies and these are continuing under the able direction of Mark Crompton who is back on the island for a second tour of duty.
On the social scene, two birthdays those of Mark Crompton and Neville Brown have already been celebrated in the appropriate manner. Bruce Mexted again turned on an excellent dinner in each case.
In spite of all these recreational activities scientific programmes have been maintained at a high standard and station work and maintenance is progressing very well. We are hopeful for an excellent year.
V. W. Sussmilch, O.I.C. through L. J. Collins, R & C Admin.
A PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE ANNUAL MIGRATORY
JOURNEYS TO RAOUL AND CAMPBELL ISLANDS
by Dr Janet Brown
Mr President and friends, It is my intention this evening to present to this gathering of experts and their friends a preliminary report on the observations I was in a position to make over a period of 7 years into a fascinating scientific phenomenon, - The annual migration of a small number of the male members of the New Zealand sub-species of the animal species known as homo sapiens. Through circumstances beyond my control, I am not in a position now to continue this research and study, and can only hope that others may be stimulated by this report to continue the studies where I have necessarily had to discontinue. Many anthorpologists have devoted years of study into the customs and behaviour of various primitive and more cultured societies, but no serious study has ever been made before of this annual migration from New Zealand shores to the two outlying islands known as Raoul and Campbell, nor of the tribal customs of the migrants. It is strange that we know more about the migratory habits of birds, eels, salmon and whales than we do about the human animal. The medical observer is in a unique position to pursue these studies, but again my own studies over 7 years have been handicapped by the necessity of employing a modern instrument known as radio telephone, and by a stay of 3 short days only on one of the islands. Indeed, this opportunity of direct observation for 3 days was only possible after a determined safari through a dense and suffocating jungle of green and pink tape and opposing schools of thought about the suitability of female medical observers to make the migratory journey.
I will divide my report into the following sections:-
1 Preparations for the Annual Migration.
2 The Journey.
3 The composition of the isolated tribe - their customs, behavior and work and leisure activities.
4 The Return.
1 Preparations for the Annual Migration:
Other species of the animal kingdom do not appear to make elaborate preparations for their annual migration, but it was my observation thatthe annual migration of some 21 male members of the N.N. Homo Sapiens involved approxiamately half a year's intensive and intricate preparation. There is no time tonight to provide you with statistics of the tonnage of paper used in those months or the man hours fevoted to the preparations, nor do I wish to dwell on the surprising errors in calculation of the needsof the 21 migrants during their year in isolation. I merely record it as a fact that the ways of the homo sapiens seem not to have the wisdom, simplicity or accuracy of lesser species in the animal kingdom. Other preparations include the choice of a leader of each island tribe, and the leader and another tribal member are initiated as Medicine Men. Now every primitive tribe must have its Medicine Man, and these two isloated tribes are no exception. My observations over 7 years lead me to the conclusion that the Medicine Men on the islands of Raoul and Campbell have at least the same value to the tribe as in primitive cultures, and it is a matter of concern that this important part of the tribe's needs and activities has not been the subject of published reports before.
2 The Journey:
Other species of the animal kingdom who display migratory habits can be observed to gather together in large numbers before the annual migration, and the N.Z. homo sapiens is no exception. However, the last 24 hours before the migration to Raoul and Campbell shows marked differences from the last 24 hours for birds and animals, but we need not elaborate on this feature tonight. The chosen 21 and others who will accompany them on their migration also gather in one place, but I must draw your attention to two ways in which this migration differs from others.
a) It is confined to male members of the species, and not as in other animals where males and females and their young all join in the migration.
b) The male members are unable to fly or swim to their destination, but must be transported over the sea in a strange box like structure which is called a ship, and which sometimes goes backwards rather than forwards on its journey, particularly when heading into a southerly on its journey to Campbell.
The journey provides opportunities for the medical observer to study the beginnings of the tribal customs and patterns which will be adopted during the year and I have it on reliable information, also for the tribe to study the medical observer, particularly a female medical observer. Some quaint customs are observed on the floating box, and I was privileged to observe at first hand the tribal custom of christening a smaller floating box known as a surf-boat. I will not describe this further as it has been well recorded by more competent observers than myself, and modesty forbids me to record the unexpected and principal part I was given in this custom.
There are also opportunities for observing other forms of wild life around us, birds, fish and turtles. Watching the turtles float lazily by, brought to mind the words of one of our great modern poets:-
"The turtle lives twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex
I think it clever of the turtle In such a fix to be so fertile."
3 The personnel of the tribe, their customs, behaviour, work and leisure activities:
The tribe on each island consists of men who claim to be versed in the scientific observation and prediction of the weather, (and I shall allude to this later), as well as others who help to support the daily life and activities of the tribe during their isolation. With regard to the weather men, it is noted that they claim to be soothsayers and to be able to predict the weather, by the use of gas filled bags which float up into the sky, and by other more complicated gadgetry and mumbo jumbo - yet I feel sure my audience will agree that an upraised index finger in the ambient air can be of greater reliability. I have observed during the last few days that our weather men on the mainland here, talk of "light variable winds and occasional showers in the Cook Strait area" when an index finger put out of a window of the edifice in Kelburn would have recorded the roaring gale and torrential rain, with sensitive accuracy. It is therefore strange that the only reason we can ascertain for this annual migration is the wish of the weather men to become more accurate in their studies and predictions.
Reference should be made to the relationship of the tribes on the islands with the main tribe in New Zealand whose habitat is appropriately named Aurora House. My observations show that the island tribes call themselves "we", and the mainland tribe are called "they or them", or other epithets which should not he mentioned tonight. How well the poet has captured this spirit in the following lines:
"I've heard it said that Sir Barnabas Beer
Spent most of his long and distinguished career
in moving great masses of paper about
from a tray marked "In" to another marked "Out"."
It is also noted that the island tribes adopt many customs which recur with each annual migration. Like other primitive tribes, they have frequent and gargantuan feasts, liberally washed down with large quantities of fluid which cause much merriment and hilarity. My medical and statistical observations reveal that the radio-telephone is much in use after these feasts for consultation between the Medicine Man on the island and the Medical Observer at Aurora House.
The human animal shows strange habits compared with humbler species of the animal kingdom, and though it could be expected that homo sapiens in isolation would be wary and prudent, he frequently shows evidence of bizarre behaviour - like shaving the fur off his head and sitting all day in the sun fishing, or by falling off a verandah after a merry feast, or by skinning the skin off his fingers instead of a goat after a cheerful hunting session. But I have observed that it is on these occasions, or even more when serious illness or injury besets a member of the tribe that the best characteristics of homo sapiens are shown. In times of crisis the Medicine Man on the island and the Medical Observer on the mainland must have a close understanding and working relationship. In my observation there have been tines of human drama calling for the best qualities from the tribe and from the Medical Observers.
A word about the modern device known as the radio-telephone. At times, it would appear less reliable than the jungle drums for passing messages. At least they can always be heard, and can send messages with accuracy. The radio-telephone shows no such accuracy, and when most urgently needed becomes temperamental and fades and distorts. I would merely comment on the strangeness of this phenomenon, when jungle messages, or conversation with astronauts on the moon present no difficulties.
I must also refer in passing, to the main difference between these annual migrations and those of other species of the animal kingdom, the restriction of this migration to the male sex. This has been commented on by other authorities including the tribal members themselves. As a medical observer, I would only recommend that while this restriction remains in force, cocoa should be banned from the provisions for the migration. The following lines were written upon hearing the startling news that cocoa is, in fact, a mild aphrodisiac:-
"Half past nine - high time for supper;
"Cocoa love?" "Of course, my dear,"
Helen thinks it quite delicious,
John prefers it now to beer.
Knocking back the sepia potion,
Hubby winks, says, "Who's for bed?"
"Shan't be long" says Helen softly,
Cheeks a faintly flushing red.
For they've stumbled on the secret,
Of a love that never wanes,
Rapt beneath the tumbled bedclothes,
Cocoa coursing through their veins."
4 The Return:
It was also my privilege to be able to study the returning tribe who showed marked differences from the migratory tribe, but I can only speak with authority about the tribe who had inhabited Raoul Island for a year. Other Medical Observers will be able to comment on the returning Campbell tribe. The main difference between the two, was a marked hibernatory tendency in the returning tribe, similiar in many ways, though of shorter duration, to the hibernation of beavers after their period of intense activity before winter. The duration of hibernation was however remarkably short, and all hibernatory symptoms were replaced instantly by intense physical and mental activity on arrival back at the mainland. Individual members of the returning tribe suddenly displayed the highest degree of mental ingenuity and proficiency when confronted by members of the tribe H.M. Customs.
It is with regret that I find myself unable to pursue these fascinating studies of the migratory habits of the N.Z. male hono sapiens to these two islands. Follw up studies should be done of those returning, and I can only indicate some fruitful lines pf research. Why, for example, do some returning tribal members show the symptomatology of chronic and intractable itching of the soles of their feet ? There appears, at this stage of medical knowledge, to be no known cure. Like many other disease syndromes, it merely seems to improve pf its own accord with the passage of time. For most tribal returnees, the island customs and rituals are gradually and partially forgotten and the tribal customs of the mainland soon adopted. Few of the tribe might express their thoughts during their migratory and celibate isolation in the beautiful words of Omar Khayyam -
"A Book of verses underneath the Bough,
A jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow."
But they would all understand the contemporary version as they prepare for the Return Journey -
"A Book and a jug and a dame,
And a nice cosy nook for the same,
And I don't care a damn"
Said Omar Khayyam,
"That yoy say, it's a great little game."
In conclusion, it is my hope that this preliminary study and report will stimulate further research by qualified observers into this interesting migratory phenomenon, and I believe I can claim tribal support for this recommendation that female observers, whether medically qualified or not, should be included in future research and study teams.
THE CHATHAM ISLANDS Their Plants, Birds and People
by E.c. Richards Simpson and Williams Ltd Christchurch, 1952.
Sometimes, as an extension to his wanderings, it is not uncommon for an ex-Campbell or Raoul Islander to turn up at the ‘Chathams’. Without research, I can think of eight I personally know who have done this, and there must have been many others in the past and many for the future who will tread its damp Campbell-like sod and on occasion, be able to dry his boots when a rare summer day will cause the low hills to shimmer and the Kopi forests to flash greens as bright as Raoul's. A New Zealander must feel, smell and see the distinctive nature of Chatham Island before he can claim to know his country.
Richards (a Mrs, I believe) was resident there many years ago, and has put together a book of reference as well as entertainment, which few people seem aware of. Ironically, 'real' Chatham Islanders disclaim it and never draw reference from it. The dust jacket's hideously reproduced 1890 photograph of a pair of Morioris squatting outside a punga whare almost lead the locals to carry Mrs Richards off to court, and the glowing ancestral accounts that they love to relate can clash strongly with her documented writings.
Although Richards could have had a puritanical outlook at the time (1883-8) when in residence with Edward Chudleigh, a strong, righteous individual and a JP to boot, there is no doubt of her tireless efforts to maintain accuracy, and her somewhat abridged historical section (36 pages) is useful and interesting. Of special value is the following 'Chatham Biographies' where the lives of almost 70 'founders' find a place.
From the stormy 1835 arrival of a Pomare sub-tribe, ‘Chathams’ has been a virtual battleground for land claims, imposition of colonial pressure, selfishness of missionaries and a general economic pattern which shows a shakiness today as part of an income oscillation which has been observed for almost 150 years. The primitive peace which existed from the time of Kupe’s discovery to the turbulence of the mid-nineteenth century, revealed a people as clever and as industrious as a herd of cows in the home paddock. The Morioris bovine degree of pugnaciousness permitted them to settle all arguments with the bruising action of a long pole, the first blow to draw blood being an adequate measure of justice for all occasions - pretty mild for those times. Homeless and clothless, they huddled beneath the massive canopy of Kopi leaves and turned their seal skins to the southwest gale. They took no interest in land division or agriculture of any kind and buried their dead by hoisting them aloft into the forest foliage.
The Maori after 1835, ate them and enslaved the leftovers to carry out menial chores and messages. A sad fate for this dull creature who could do nothing against the invader. The race did end on a final high note, however. Tommy Solomon, who died in his fiftieth year during 1934, outstripped his diminutive ancestors by attaining the feast-like proportions of 34 stone in weight prior to his death. Chatham Island saw its share of whaling and sealing, from the time of Lieutenant Broughton's re discovery when he was in command of the warship 'Chatham' in 1791 , up to and including the 1830s. One man tried to buy its 300,000 acres from the Pomare sub-tribe for $4000. The New Zealand Company tried for 40,000 acres at $8000, and then attempted a transaction with German colonials to drop the lot for a cool $20,000. Whilst the battle for land continued at all levels over many years, the Maoris lived as stormy neighbours alongside their european exploiters, the episode of the French trader, ‘Jean Bart’ being a serious example. To make matters more complex, a stockade had been constructed to take the defeated Hau Haus into custody after the East Coast War of 1865. From this they burst, splitting convenient skulls in the process, made off with the ship ‘Rifleman’, and so returned to their happy hunting grounds around Poverty Bay. Finally, sense prevailed, but prosperity could never be maintained at a high level in any line of industry with the island's geographical isolation from New Zealand.
Historically, ‘Chathams', for its size, can supply more on a visual impact basis than New Zealand can. The more recent of the Moriori tree carvings can still be seen in the Kopi forests of the North coast, but one is warned of the deeper cuts and boot polish applied by assorted urchins running ahead of the battery of National Geographical Society cameras in 1952. Chudleigh’s ‘Wharekauri', Canon's ‘Waitangi West' and old Bill Hunt's property on Pitt Island are but a few of the architectural ‘beauties’ of the period, in fine restoration and continual use. The Lutheran mission house at Maunganui, the 1889 Anglican Church of St Augustine at Te One and the lonely cemetery south of Owenga whisper the hardships of the past with throat swelling thoroughness.
As history is not her true love, Richards has done rather well in laying down a lot of history in a small space. It is non-confusing and a single reading is useful to anyone. She is a botanist (NZ Trees and Shrubs) and the first half of the book will bear this out. Excessively I thought, but then she did add the sub-title 'Their Plants, Birds and People’ to the cover. The novice must work hard to make this section work for him. Undoubtedly he will come to terms with Myosotidium nobile and may even return with a pocket full of its seeds to introduce a botanical curse into his own garden. In fully realising the book's title, I find only one deficiency. The poorly reproduced Lands and Survey map is virtually worthless. A writer in this field must take great care to be able to geograph ically pinpoint all of interest in adequate maps or diagrams. After all, it is a work of reference. And as such, the mainlander should not lose his copy in the bookshelf if he 'goes down to Chathams' for a term. It’s cloth-bound cover and tough semi-gloss pages can easily cope with the dirt and grease of a Landrover's parcel tray or side pocket.
Once Upon a Time
Down in the dust of the archives (being in our fifth year we now have an archive section as well as dust), I came upon this little classic which had been put together for an earlier newsletter, but had been withdrawn due to space requirements. It deals with an incident well known to most recent Raoul Islanders, and the description is vivid enough to put other members in the picture. I once saw a movie showing this unusual vessel becoming 'unstuck from the rut,’ the sponsor’s colours of Oil Drum Red being invisible to the observer due to the amount of spray thrown up and only the driver’s standing figure could be seen, which gave the impression of someone clumsily water skiing in a blunt banana box.
'l'HE "FLYING FORTY - FOUR"
Strange tales but true we should review
From time to time I think,
To some of us it’s old with dust,
To some of you it’s new.
There was a man called Poulter, see,
Was there in fifty-nine,
Called Davey Boy by you and me,
He cast a heavy line.
He powerful grew and fond of brew,
His many feats of strength
Did outshine those of 'Barbed Wire Bill'
And even 'Dan McGrew’.
But he had brains so he could gloat,
Those others couldn't claim,
'Now I have plans I’ll use some cans
To build a power boat’.
(The leader trundles out the door,
He thinks he visions saw
Of Johnson outboard motors
Strewn on Blue Lake Floor.)
T'will never fly the hecklers cry,
Another hair brained scheme,
‘Won’t work be damned, of course it will',
Says Davey with a gleam.
So fleet of foot he takes a look
And very quickly finds
Three sturdy empty oil drums,
And these he quickly took.
Then he begins and seldom grins
As plans begin to click,
Recruits the aid of 'Case' Roobeck
To help to shape the tins.
They bang and bend and weld and saw
For many noisy nights,
Then finally they bring it out:
The 'Flying Forty-Four'.
So to the lake some trials to make
The 'Forty-Four' we take,
While Poulter hawks the outboard there,
For that he took the cake.
He hooked her up just by the hut
And down into the wet,
A cheer rang out as she moved out -
No power put on her yet.
He starts her up and with great gut
He pours on all the power
And then for worse to David's curse
She settles in a rut.
She dips her bum and lifts her tum
And grinds ahead dead slow,
Enormous bow wave to the fore
But high speed wouldn't come.
He tried and tried and damn near cried
But nothing could he do
To lift the bitch out from the ditch
Produce a planing ride.
And though he cursed and cussed and cussed
He threw the ship ashore,
There to lie and die and rust,
The hecklers may have had their day,
But more's to come just yet,
Cause one day soon another goon
Requests he have a say.
'I've seen it hence - believe the fence
Could be your heavy weight
And my less stones upon these bones
Might make the difference.'
'I see the light, it might be right
For you to have a burn,
We'll try it then this next weekend,
We all can live and learn'.
With slits for eyes and jutting jaw,
Intrepid driver to,
He seized the cord, the power poured
And headed from the shore.
She grinds along - a dreadful song,
And then she gave a shake,
He's thunderstruck, she come unstuck
And breaks to run along.
With grunt and groan and sheet of foam,
She snaked across the lake,
With hiss and roar the 'Forty - Four'
Had finally come home.
He brought her in after a spin,
The celebrations start,
Dave Poulter's grin was wide with gin,
The hecklers mighty thin.
A different Dave - some mods he made,
With snips and boot and tin,
Till he too could - as well he should,
Perform right up to grade.
Her fame spread wide across the tide,
The record book rewrote,
The cats and rats and goats lined up
To see the speeding ride.
And though no scribe I haven't lied,
Its been a frightful task,
I feel it's just; record we must
Some stories from the past.
Strange tales but true, we must review
And bring them to the fore,
So putto pen more stories then
Like the 'Flying - Four'.
Who was 'Cutlass' then ? Obviously an old Raoul hacker with nautical bent from way back. Check the grinning photos of the fifty-niners. The episode he refers to was the well-known professional attempt (jointly sponsored by the Department and a well-known oil company) on the Kermadec Fresh WaterSpeed Record, the sea record having previously been gained off North Beach by an RNZAF Sunderland during takeoff. In a recent reply to 'Cutlass', I hope I have indicated the feelings and thoughts of all Raoul Islanders:
Well Cutlass - begorrah - what a clown
Your verse for history so well put down
Deep thought and memory - I should think
T’would deserve a little Newsletter ink.
A learned friend - a Mr Clark
With chuckles deep and eyes aspark
Remembers the tale and its purpose
Also recognises Bobby Service.
But me with my lesser brain inner
Thought it smacked of 'Come In Spinner’.
But style aside - the message is clear
Raoul is not just fishing, sleeping and beer.
But a haven for the inventor working
With challenge from his mates asmirking
Until the project comes unbent
By time and Departmental money lent.
Be it a bike to catch the Sprok unwary
Or a shark fishing cannon that goes off hairy
All have been worth the effort and time
Induced by the wonderful Kermadec clime.
The NEWSLETTER is the official quarterly publication of the Campbell Raoul Island Association (Inc.). All enquiries should be addressed to: The Secretary, C.R.I.A. (Inc.), G.P.O.Box 3557, WELLINGTON. Contributions to the NEWSLETTER should be forwarded to The Editor, and subscriptions to The Treasurer.