Category Archives: New Zealand

Tearle Family history from New Zealand


The Empire Hotel, a Railway Story in Frankton, NZ

The Empire Hotel – A Railway Story

By Ewart Tearle Nov 2009

I lived for 6 weeks during the Christmas Holidays in the now-burned down Empire Hotel in Frankton, near Hamilton, New Zealand. I can’t remember how much it cost, but at the time, I was earning £5.0.0 a week working as a yardman for Caltex, the oil company, that had three tall storage tanks alongside the railway line. I have a vague idea that the hotel charged £1 a week and I kept my costs down by having only fruit for lunch, at about 1/-, and fish-and-chips at about 2/- for dinner, giving me a profit for the week of about £3. This was the most money I earned until I was a second-year teacher some five years later.

In the Caltex yard, there was one tank for diesel, one tank for regular petrol and one tank for super petrol. My job was to dip the tanks every two hours and let the office know the level. Every few days a tanker or two would be dropped off by the shunters on the siding adjacent to these storage tanks, their appearance triggered by the dips I had recorded. It is a peculiarity of railway stock that they look unhappy and bedraggled if they are sitting waiting, so while they were there, I would dip the tanks again and again until I knew that there was room in one of the tanks for the entire quantity of the fuel in at least one of the tankers waiting to be unloaded. Dipping was easy – I climbed the ladder attached to the outside of the 50-foot tank and looked at a small wooden stick poking above the curve of the tank top. There was enough room in the tank for the contents of at least three tankers, so it was hardly a difficult task. If the top of the rod was six inches or more higher than the hole into which it was fitted, then I could see the collar that stopped the rod from disappearing into the tank, so there was more fuel to be used before it was safe to add an entire tanker. If the collar was nestling into its socket, I would draw the eight-foot rod out of the tank and ensure the last bit of the bottom of the rod was dry. Now I could re-fill the tank. Each of the huge storage tanks had a long metal-reinforced hose attached to the bottom of the tank and the other end I unwound and attached to the tanker, turning on the tap at the same time to allow the fuel to flow. Between the hose and the tank inlet there was a tap that, when turned, automatically started an electric motor that forced the fuel from the tanker into the bottom of the tank. When it sucked air, it turned off. If the yardman got the dip wrong and started the upload, there was no way to stop it. Once the tank filled up, the rest of the fuel overflowed. Each tank sat in a high-walled hollow big enough to take its entire contents, to cope with just such an occurrence. I heard that one yardman had emptied the contents of the diesel tanker into the super petrol storage tank – and to compound things, it overflowed by several hundred gallons. That’s why I was the new yardman.

The hotel served only one meal, breakfast. It was interesting…. The cook was a great guy – huge, bald, loud, dressed in a white singlet, canvas trousers and black boots, sweating all the time. He had one of those distinctively rugged New Zealand names that I wished so badly my mother had called me – something like Bruce, or Jim, or Jack. Of course, the inmates of the hotel had lots of adjectives they went through before they got to his actual name, but they certainly seemed to like him. He cooked a wadge of bacon, and a bucket of sausages, in a yard-wide cast iron frying pan over a red-hot coal range, and threw sliced onions into a smaller frying pan alongside. The eggs he cooked by breaking them directly onto the fiercely hot range-top. The under-cook passed him tin plates hot from the oven and he slapped some bacon, a couple of sausages, onions and an egg on each plate and then whacked it down on the counter, swinging it along the shiny surface until the man at the head of the breakfast queue swept it up before it hit the floor. You could hear each man take the plate and swear at how hot it was as he carried it back to his table. They seemed to know a lot about the ancestry of the cook.

We all sat down within half an hour of 6am, or else we got no breakfast, sitting on assorted wooden chairs around equally mismatched round, square and oblong, bare wooden tables. A wooden floor of 12” oak planks spoke of the former grandeur of the hotel, but grimy windows and dark stains in the wood told even more about its fallen present. I suppose there were thirty of us. Wizened little men from the First World War dressed in cloth caps and harassed tweed jackets with woollen singlets exposed under threadbare blue-grey shirts sat in silence and shovelled the bacon and eggs from their tin plates into their thin, sometimes twisted mouths. They were tiny, like my grandmother, who fitted under my arm when I held it out horizontally. How on earth had they won a war? They looked straight ahead; old, tired and sick, their eyes full of nightmares. Railwaymen in dark overalls ate ravenously and drank their hot, sweet tea from squat china mugs they would thump onto the table between mouthfuls of bacon and sausages while they laughed, gossiped about each other and told filthy jokes. They were taller men, bigger, some with paunches that forced their belts to cut into their middle. They had one of the most dangerous jobs in New Zealand, because at shunting time, it was they who ran between moving railway rolling stock, coupling or decoupling on the run, jumping off and onto a step welded near the rear and front of all the wagons. They would stand beside the wagon to be attached and would wave the shunter forward until it clacked against the coupling unit. If the lock didn’t come down, these men would jump into the gap between the wagons and drop the lock, skipping backwards to clear the still-moving stock and jumping onto the step. The shunter was in a hurry – the engineer had to fend for himself. I saw the force that the shunter sometimes used when coupling, and it had torn the heavy cast iron fist of the coupling unit on the wagon into a grisly twisted hook. When a wagon was decoupled, the shunter gave it a thundering whack and the wagon, with all the other rolling stock in front of it, clattered coupling irons together and charged forward. The engineer on the ground raced along the track to push a lever so that the cortege of rolling stock was diverted to its resting place for the day. If he failed to reach the lever in time, the first wagon passed onto a portion of the track that was not intended for it, and the engineer could only stand in frustrated impotence while he waited for the stock to stop rolling, or crash into a terminal barrier, and the shunter driver yelled curses at him that would have split the heavens. That short train of stock moved very quickly and in total silence. In the fog that often afflicted Hamilton, and in the rush to get all the wagons in the right places for the day, a man could easily be in front of the onrushing freight and die without ever knowing what hit him. The men at breakfast were loud and violent-tongued in an effort to remove the thought that today’s fog might be the last thing they ever saw.

One or two men worked in local car garages and one I knew of worked in a metal scrap-yard, but most of these men were working on the railways.

My bedroom was on the second floor and overlooked the railway shunting yards at the back of the hotel. An iron-framed cot with a wire base slung like a hammock supported a kapok mattress, and a smelly, stained pillow which rested in the right-hand corner under the only window. A small, pale green four-drawer dresser left a narrow path to the bedside table with my shiny, chrome-plated alarm clock the only ornamentation. A rimu wardrobe filled the last cavity in the floor space on the left-hand side of the door and a 40-watt light bulb hung crookedly from the ceiling on fraying wires. I could see faint colours and shapes in the aged wallpaper that might have been tales of far-away lands, in ancient times, but nothing I could turn into any sort of sense. The “ablutions room” was at the end of the corridor when I turned left from my door, while the kitchen was to the right, and down two sets of creaking wooden stairs. There was no key for my bedroom, and I never had enough money to replace the awful pillow. I used my eiderdown on the wire base to put some body into the mattress.

Across the tracks, there were wooden cottages built for the working class, originally painted white, but when I was there they were down-at-heel with rusting corrugated iron roofs, unkempt lawns, cracked windows and un-sealed roads. In the summer they summoned dust devils and in the winter, they were awash with mud. This was the Frankton slum and it nursed a generation of screaming, much-abused, much-maligned young mothers with grubby, shabby kids. Work for post-war men was not always close to Frankton and these young women could find themselves without their men for long stretches, and most likely penniless until the men arrived back with whatever was left of their pay. The howling kids and their screaming mothers – even late into the night – was what I heard most from the other side of the tracks, through the window of my bedroom on the second floor of the Empire Hotel.

On the railway, the drivers and engineers yelled orders and banged trains together all night long, but no more energetically than at eight o’clock in the morning when everyone in Frankton had to cross the railway line to go to work in Hamilton. At that hour of the day there was always a train (or two – it was a dual line between the station and the shunting yards) across the only level crossing on the only road to Hamilton. Even in the sixties, the days of steam were behind us, and these trains in Frankton were all diesels. I stood once by the tracks in Rotorua watching the billowing white smoke and listened to the chuffing and animal breathing of the one steam loco I ever saw pulling a train from Rotorua over the Mamaku Ranges to Hamilton. When I was in high school, Aunty Grace had sent me back to Rotorua from the mining village of Pukemiro deep in the Mamakus on a steam train consisting of a couple of carriages immediately behind the engine and nearly a mile of freight and empty wagons behind. Fire and sparks leapt from the funnel and fell on the dry grass alongside the railway track, setting fires every few hundred yards. White smoke tinged with black shadows writhed from the engine, through the carriage and down the length of the train. The huge black engine in front of me seemed to be straining every muscle, breathing deeply and sighing heavily like the draft horses that pulled pine stumps from hedges on the farm my father worked when I was a pre-schooler. The smell of coal smoke, leather and old timber in the carriage was deeply impressionable. The sense of going on an adventure with a rumbling giant was palpable. There is no romance like that, in diesel.

“Dirty bloody things,” my mother said with considerable feeling. “You’d put a full wash of clean clothes on the line, and some smelly damned train would crawl past and leave clinkers all over the washing. At least diesels are clean.”

The hotel – more a boarding house, in the way it was run – was an elegant, three-storey wooden structure clad in weatherboard. It was quite a handsome, turn of the century building painted green and white with a large gold sign, outside staircases, steep roofs and an imposing turret. But it had seen its best days. The green was faded, the white was dirty and the sign was cracked and had bits missing. The stairs creaked, the roof leaked and the manager put his head to every door in the hotel to assure himself there were no girls in the hotel after nine PM. In fact, women were not allowed in the hotel in the day-time let alone stay overnight. Frankton was a down-at-heel railway town and the hotel had A Reputation; the manager was determined to stamp it out.

I suspect (as did the local press) that a disaffected Lothario burnt the hotel down when his girlfriend was discovered under his bed. The tragedy was that he killed six in the attempt to exact his revenge, and he will be in prison for some time.

Rosemary Tearle and Nightingale - August 2009, Kaeo, Northland, NZ

Goodbye Rosemary Tearle, Auckland, NZ

Rosemary Tearle and Nightingale - August 2009, Kaeo, Northland, NZ

Rosemary Tearle and Nightingale – August 2009, Kaeo, Northland, NZ


Hello Ewart, it is with great sadness that I write on behalf of Michael to let you know that Rosemary died very suddenly on Sunday morning. She died in her sleep and it has been very shocking for Michael and her family. Her funeral will be this Friday. Jacqui and John are coming to Kaeo to be with their father.

Michael would be grateful if you could please let the Tearle group know of our sad loss.

Kind regards, Barbara (Rosemary’s sister).

Dear Richard

It is with the greatest sadness that I have to inform you of the death of our beloved Rosemary on Sunday morning, 29 May 2011. Her sister Barbara tells me that she died suddenly in her sleep at her home in Kaeo, Northland, New Zealand and she asked me to convey this news to you and the Tearle group.

We will all miss Rosemary’s unbounded enthusiasm for our work, her razor-sharp intellect and her incredible persistence to find the stories of members of the Tearle family. For me, her most memorable accomplishment was to find the details of the life and times of Rowland Grigg Tearle, his mother Elizabeth and the follow-up story of their lives in India. Through her efforts and determination, Rowland has been given a lasting memorial. Rosemary was also the one who figured out the relationship between the George Tearle and the Elizabeth Tearle who had married in Michael’s tree, and as a result of her work, we were able to place Elizabeth within her family, as one of George’s cousins. She also researched and wrote up the lovely story of Lionel Victor and the Lowestoft Tearles and their remarkable meeting with Arnold, the Liverpool Tearle.

Elaine and I first met Rosemary in the early nineties when researching a Tearle family in Auckland, to find that Rosemary’s Michael Tearle of Avondale was not the Mike Tearle of Avondale whom we had gone to see. She was a lady of wit and charm and we instantly liked her and her family. We also found we had similar experiences in NZ. Rosemary and Michael had been herd testing (testing cows for pregnancy after AI) in the Otorohanga area and had even got married in the Otorohanga Church. Elaine and I had lived and worked in the Waitomo/King Country since 1977 and we were very familiar with all the places that Michael and Rosemary had been. As rural folk ourselves, we knew exactly how they had lived and we had lots of laughs over stories of farming life and farming families. We were looking forward to seeing her on our trip to NZ in August.

She was an endlessly kind lady, a generous, wholehearted person, and a devoted wife and mother. She has been our friend and our compatriot for the past 15 years. Elaine and I will miss her very much and we extend to Michael, Matthew and Jaqui our very deepest sympathies in their hour of sorrow.

Ewart and Elaine Tearle

From Teresa, Brisbane:

Ewart, thank you for passing on this most sad news. My sincere condolences to her loved ones, she will certainly be missed.

From Pat Field:

This is indeed a great sadness and shock.

I personally will miss Rosemary and her amazing knowledge of Family history in particular our Tearle family. She has become a friend over the past few years and it was lovely meeting Michael’s two sisters at our last Meet. Our big tree would be much smaller and less interesting without her huge influence.

My love and sincere condolences go to Michael and the family at this time of great sorrow.

Pat Field

From Richard Tearle, leader of the Tearle Yahoo Group

Ewart – this is just so devastating and I am shocked and stunned. Rosemary was one of our first members, as I recall, and through the time she has provided us with not only information, but theories, useful contacts and tremendous results from her own endeavours. She was ever helpful to our members, new or old, and would willingly take on a project that was to the common cause rather than her own, personal interest in the Tearle family.

Our group will be a sadder place without her, but for those who have met her or, like myself, have corresponded with her over the years then our whole world will be very much emptier.

I heartily applaud – and thank you for it – your decision to devote a page on your site to her memory: hopefully future members and visitors will be able to recognise the enormous contribution Rosemary made to our researches as well as our lives.

From Wendy and Tony Skelley


I would also like to acknowledge Rosemary and her dedication to this family research. We had many email conversations, and I was looking forward to meeting her one day here in New Zealand.

Rosemary was very inspiring and her memory will live on.

Regards to everyone that knew her.

Wendy & Tony Skelley in NZ

From Ewart and Elaine:


We have spent the afternoon with Ray and Denice Reese and we drove to see Tebworth, the home village of Denice’s grandfather, James Henry Tearle 1884, and to call in his at home parish church, All Saints Chalgrave. While we were there, we took the opportunity to ask Ray, who is a Salvation Army chaplain, to say a few words for Rosemary.

It was a lovely little ceremony, and would have touched the deeply Christian side of Rosemary’s character.

God speed, Rosemary; we will miss you.

Ewart and Elaine

From Pam:

Dear Ewart

Words cannot express how shocked and saddened I am by this news. I had an e-mail from Rosemary just three weeks ago saying that they were OK and still self sufficient on the farm.

I was fortunate to meet Rosemary in the days when she came to Auckland regularly to see her mother. She would pop in to see me and we had lunch together on several occasions.

A lovely lady who will be sorely missed by her family and all those who knew her.

God speed Rosemary, I will definitely miss you greatly.

kind regards to all


Auckland NZ.

From Wendy Skelley:

Two weeks ago I sent to Rosemary my first draft of Aubrey’s Boys, and she was very excited about it, she even mentioned she got goosebumps when reading some parts. Her enthusiasm was amazing and I am so glad that she got to read it, we had often talked about the coincidences and I will miss her interest.

Ewart – when you come to New Zealand we shall certainly celebrate her remembrance.


From Sue Albrecht:

A very sad day for the NZ nest of Tearles and indeed for the worldwide Tearle group. Odd how people one has never met, one has no physical mental picture, and who are not part of your day to day existence can become significant in one’s life. I have always thought of Rosemary as someone I met through a genealogy group but who became more than that – she led such a multifaceted life that it was not hard to find common ground with her in other areas as well. I saw a picture of her today for the first time ever on Ewart’s site, and it was a strange feeling, cos I’d only ever known the “essence” of Rosemary, not her physical being, and had warmed to it immensely. I just thought I would write my immediate thoughts down, because the same thoughts apply to you, Barbara and Ewart. I guess many others in the group would feel the same way. Sue Albrecht.

From Tracy Stanton:


I would like to pass on my condolences to Michael and the family. Rosemary liked to follow things through so thoroughly and her work helped fill gaps for many of the wider group. This work will carry on her memory and be a lasting legacy for Tearles still to come.

My thoughts are with you all.

Tracy Stanton

From Barbara Tearle

This must be a devastating time for Rosemary’s family and I join with everyone in the group in thinking of them and sending condolences.

It is also a sad loss to the Tearle group. Rosemary’s enthusiasm, persistence, research skills and lateral thinking contributed so much to unravelling the human stories behind the bare records of our Tearle family. As we got to know her, the world became smaller and we all became much closer. I loved hearing the odd snippets about the farm and could visualise her caring for the animals then turning to her computer for a change of scene.

She will be missed by so many people.

Barbara Tearle

Message from the group to Rosemary’s family:

Thu 2 Jun 2011

Dear Michael, John, Matt, Jacqui and Robyn,

First of all, may I offer condolences and sympathies from the entire Tearle Family Group following the passing of our dear friend Rosemary.

The sad news came as a complete shock to us all and our thoughts are first and foremost with you, the family, and I hope that knowing that Rosemary was much loved and respected will help give you strength through this tragically difficult time.

Many of our members have asked if they could pay their respects and it was decided that it might be better for me to write to you on behalf of everyone. Some personal tributes are already visible on Ewart’s Family site.

Rosemary was an inspiration to all of us in the field of family research and her tenacity and perseverence solved many a problem for us. But more than that, Rosemary’s commentaries on ‘life on the farm’ were joyful to read and her warmth and vivacity as a person shone through.

Be assured that our thoughts will be very much with you on Friday: Rosemary will be sorely missed by all of us.

Richard Tearle, Barbara Tearle, Ewart and Elaine Tearle, Pat Field, Pam Whiting, Susan Albrecht, Wendy Skelley, Tracy

Hello Ewart and members of the Tearle group,

This is Robyn, Rosemary’s eldest daughter and 2nd in line of 4 siblings. I am writing on behalf of Michael, her husband, my siblings, Rosemary’s 3 sisters, her mum, and 4 grandchildren.

I’m writing on behalf of the family to express our heartfelt thanks to the folks in your group who have written such loving comments about our mum. It has touched us deeply, and reinforces to us how loved our mum was. She threw herself into things boots and all with her enthusiasm and drive, leaving no stone unturned in her quest to get things done and discovered. She loved a challenge, whether it be the family history or building up her farm from a scrubby gorse ridden paddock. We are heartened that she had so many interests that really excited her – the Tearle Family Tree, being a huge one. Mum loved people and the interaction with people, and she loved the process of finding out about people and their history and how their lives connected and crossed paths. Being part of the Tearle Group was a huge source of enjoyment and provided huge satisfaction for mum on many levels. So thankyou all for being colleagues and friends to our mum. It has warmed us all to know she had so many friends.

Matthew the youngest sibling wrote this eulogy below for mum’s funeral, which was Friday (NZ time), and is happy for it to be included in this email of thanks. It sums up how we feel about mum.

Thanks again for being wonderful friends and colleagues to our mum.

With much love from the Tearle’s and extended family.

Rosemary’s eulogy – written and presented by Matthew Tearle

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

“Who can find a virtuous woman?” the Book of Proverbs asks. Well, we did.

Mum, I feel that I should be able to say that when I heard the news, I collapsed in tears. But… I didn’t. Not because of lack of sorrow; not because of inner strength; just because it didn’t make sense. It was like being told that gravity didn’t work anymore or the sky was now orange. It’s incomprehensible. It’s not how the universe works. It’s not in the script.

So I didn’t really know what to do. At the time, I was building a chicken coop. So, not knowing what else to do, I kept building… which, I guess, is appropriate for a child of the virtuous women who eateth not the bread of idleness.

I think you’d like the chicken coop, mum. First, of course, it will house chickens. Second, I’m doing it myself, even though I really have no idea what I’m doing. And third, it’s going to be ridiculously overbuilt. That’s something I know I got from you. We all did – none of us can do anything in half measures. You never did. But I’m glad that at least now you can rest. I think you’ve earned it.

And I’m glad that, if it had to happen, at least you didn’t know it was coming – it might have caused you consternation. Not that you’d have feared death; you would have accepted it, clothed with strength and honour. But you would have worried about everyone else; you would have felt it was your responsibility to plan the funeral, stock the freezer, make arrangements for the livestock, pay the bills,… In other words, to looketh well to the ways of your household. To take care of everyone else before yourself. Well, not any more. Now you can rest and be at peace, and your children call you blessed.


Helen Hinkley, 1865, London

6 July 2001

Mr Jim Spence



Dear Jim

I have brought to England all the material about the Orange family that you sent me. A few weeks ago, I was browsing through it all and I realised that I had heard of Southwark and couldn’t think why.  They ordained the latest Bishop of St Albans in Southwark Cathedral and while I was looking through your material I saw Helen Hinkley, 53 Union St, Southwark.  Within weeks, I was called to a job interview at Sainsbury’s 169 Union St, Southwark and I spent the day, either side of that interview, wandering around the area that Helen would have known so well.  In a week or so, I was appointed to a job with Sainsbury’s in Rennie St, just around the corner from Union St.  I sent the following to Mum:

I have landed a very nice job as a Technical Support Analyst on the Help Desk for Sainsbury’s head office in Rennie House, Rennie St, Southwark.  Pronounced SUTHic.  The place is often confused with Suffolk because lots of Brits can’t say the th in Suthic, so it comes out suffok anyway and people say to me, “Oh, you’re working in Suffolk – that’s a long way from St Albans ….”

Now, Mum.  Your grandmother, Elsie’s mum, Helen Orange, nee Hinkley (I’ll call her Helen Hinkley for the moment) was born in 1865 and lived at 53 Union St, Southwark.  When she left for NZ in 1883, she left from a very good place to leave. It’s easy to picture the Dickensian pea-soup smogs and imagine peering through slit eyes as you pick your way to work through the grubby brick buildings, skipping past horse droppings, breathing the foul and putrid air and listening for the trains hissing  and rattling noisily overhead, as they make their way to London Bridge or Blackfriars.

She was a nurse in London, did you know? I’d love to know if you ever met her – she died in 1928, and you would have been 7 at the time, and she divorced your grandfather in 1924, so it’s quite possible you never meet her.  However – back to Southwark.  I’ve taken to walking all around the Bankside area that Helen would have been familiar with and I have been looking for anything older than 1883, so that what I am looking at, she would have seen.  

Well, there is a lot.  Firstly, her house is still standing.  

53 Union St Middle house was Helen Hinkleys.

53 Union St – middle house was Helen Hinkley’s.

It’s just the shell and is being refurbished for business premises, but many of the houses around it are still in 1883 condition and you can easily get a sense of the dust, grime and poverty of the area.  It was primarily a warehouse district and many of the Victorian era buildings still standing, although converted to modern use mostly as offices, have retained the lifting gear attached to the outside walls.  

She would have been familiar with the Southwark Cathedral, which was called the Church of St Mary Overie when she lived there – it became a cathedral in 1910.  It’s only a few streets away, adjacent to London Bridge.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

She would have been familiar with the stories of The Clink – the prison that gave all others the name.  It’s just a few streets away, even though it wasn’t an active prison when she lived there, the rubble from a huge fire in the area in 1814 was still there in 1883 and its underground vaults still exist, too. It was the prison for the Duke of Winchester in Winchester Palace and it started life in the 1300’s.  A really horrible place.  

Entrance to the Clink.

Entrance to the Clink.

Southwark has been home to prostitution and crime since Saxon times.  The Duke of Winchester “regulated” the brothels and owned a large section of Bankside since King Steven gave it all to him in the 1130’s. The Clink was his private prison and he held life and death over its inmates until the prison was destroyed in 1780.

Prisoner in the overhead cage outside the Clink.

Prisoner in overhead cage outside the Clink.

There is a little bit of Winchester Palace still standing – a wall and a large rose window – and under that is the Clink. In Clink St, of course.  The palace itself, in its heyday, was inside a fully-walled area of about 200 acres; all that’s left today is that bit of wall with the window, and the remnant of the Clink.

Winchester Palace, the last fragment.

Winchester Palace, the last fragment.

She would also have been familiar with St Paul’s Cathedral towering over the Thames on the other side of the river, and all the other works of Sir Christopher Wren in the area built in the late 1600’s, early 1700’s.  

St Pauls Cathedral.

St Pauls Cathedral

His chief mason, by the way, was a man called Edward Strong who was a citizen of St Albans and is buried here in St Peters Church. The Blackfriars bridge Helen crossed to get to The City from Bankside is the same one I cross to get to work, because it was built in the 1760’s; by an engineer called Rennie, incidentally.  She would have been familiar with the Blackfriars rail bridge, too, that crosses the Thames and swings through Southwark on a big brick viaduct.  I suspect that then the arches would have been open, but today they are bricked up for lockups – and there is a very large amount of space to be let under the arches of a rail bridge.

Ivor Adams, my cousin on my grandmother Sadie Tearle’s side, who has worked in The City most of his life, said that Bankside was the haunt of the Teddy Boys in the 1920’s and 1930’s and even today, in spite of all the upgrading that has been done there, areas just to the south, like Peckham, and Elephant & Castle, are still poverty-stricken and crime-ridden.  If you stay close to the river, you’re ok. It’s very nice.  I walked 7 minutes from work down The Thames Walk to the Tate Modern, a coal-fired electricity station that has been converted into the largest indoor space I have ever seen.

Tate Modern.

Tate Modern.

And they use all this space for an art museum. Free admission, too.  I could only spend 10 minutes there but the building outside is massive in brick, dominated by a tall red-brick chimney that has been a feature of the Bankside skyline for nearly a century.  Inside, it is light and airy and there are overhead cranes quietly tucked away waiting to move large and heavy exhibits.

I have attached photos of the landmarks in the Bankside area that Helen would have seen.  

I have also found Glen Parva, Blaby, Leicester, where Albert Edward Orange (1865-1942) came from.  It was a Roman settlement and nestles in a crook of the A426 and the Leicester Ring-road. There is a Great Glen in the area as well as Peating Parva, Ashby Parva and Wigston Parva.  Elaine’s cousin, Jack Dalgleish, lives in Leicester and we have been to see his family several times.  Would you like some photos of 1870’s Glen Parva? Next time we go to Leicester we’ll stop and have a look to see what is left.  Do you have a street name?  That would be a real help.

Kindest regards

Ewart Tearle


Soul Food – A Tearle Family Recipe Book of Memories

Written by Genevieve Tearle  2001

These recipes are taken from a beautiful little book Genevieve wrote and illustrated for us; recipes we use all the time, many from family occasions.

It is one of most treasured things we have ever been given.

I have included her illustrations, and inserted a few more pictures where they add interest. The text is true to the original and the Kiwi-isms are retained.

Where possible, I have taken pages directly from her

Chocolate Crunch

  • 6oz Anchor butter,
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 c weetbix,
  • 1 c flour,
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 T cocoa,
  • 1 t baking powder
  • Take 2 bored kids on the weekend or school holidays. Set one aside. Melt butter and essence. In a bowl mix together Weetbix, flour, sugar, cocoa, & baking powder. Pour melted mixture over dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Leave ¼ of mixture in bowl for second child to have while licking the bowl.
  • Press remaining mixture into a greased Swiss Roll tin and bake for ½ hr at 180C. Ice while hot and cut into squares for kids’ lunches and random snacks.

Apricot Chicken

  • 8 chicken pieces,
  • 1 packet onion soup
  • Can apricot halves,
  • sprinkle of herbs
  • ½ c water,
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • Take one cold winter’s evening and a family meal. Place all ingredients into a casserole dish or browning dish. Cook at 180C for 45-60 minutes, or microwave on high for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.
  • Water can be substituted by white wine for a richer meal.
Hamilton Girls High School

Hamilton Girls High School

Baked Snapper

  • 1 lemon,
  • 1 tomato,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T brown sugar,
  • handful raisins
  • Take one freshly caught snapper from the family fishing trip. De-scale and gut in the kitchen sink. Rub the inside of the cavity then rub with salt and brown sugar. Slice up lemon, tomato and onion. Layer the above in the fish and top with raisins. Bake or microwave.
  • Recipe also suitable for that perfect 4lb trout brought home by Dad and the kids.

Elaine and brothers after a day at sea


  • 1 c plain flour,
  • ¾ c milk,
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 egg,
  • extra milk
  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and beat well. Use extra milk to thin if too thick, or flour to thicken. Heat a frying pan and melt butter.
  • Pour over pancake batter (note thickness will vary widely and that’s a good thing).
  • Serve over the breakfast bar with lemon & sugar or jam & ice-cream.

Bacon & Egg Savouries

  • Pastry:
  • 1 c flour,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 60g Anchor butter
  • 3-4 T water
  • Take two intermediate aged children (one at a time) and combine with Home Ec classes. Sift flour & salt into a bowl. Rub in butter. Add water 1 T at a time. Mix to a dough. Roll out pastry and cut into circles to line patty tins.
  • Filling:
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 50g cheese (grated)
  • bacon (chopped).
  • Mix all ingredients together. Spoon filling into pastry cases. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat recipe often during school holidays or when guests are coming for lunch.

Macaroni Cheese

  • ½ c macaroni elbows,
  • 3 T Anchor butter,
  • 1 small onion finely chopped,
  • 2 rashers of bacon,
  • 2 T flour,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 1 ½ c milk,
  • pinch cayenne pepper,
  • 1 ½ c grated tasty or colby cheese.
  • Cook macaroni pasta. Set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan & saute onion and bacon. Add flour & salt and cook until bubbly. Cool.
  • Add milk gently while stirring. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly while thickening. Remove from heat & stir in cheese. Season with cayenne pepper or ground pepper.
  • Place macaroni cheese in oven proof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grill until golden brown.
  • Serve accompanied with cheap white wine during T-Col days or with orange juice for a casual family evening.

Pauanui Lunch

  • 1 loaf fresh bread from the hot bread shop, 4 cinnamon rolls, 4 ice-creams from Mr Whippy, 1 salad (optional).
  • Eat ice-creams first (and quickly to avoid melting in the hot summer sun). With whatever room left available, fill with fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and casual salad.
  • Relax for at least half an hour before moving to the beach and the more energetic pursuit of boogie boarding.
Pauanui Beach House

Pauanui Beach House

60 Minute Rolls

  • 1 T dried yeast,
  • 1 T sugar,
  • ½ c warm water (mix together & stand for 5-10 mins in a warm place).
  • 1 T Anchor butter,
  • ½ c hot milk (add butter to milk allowing butter to melt. Cool to “warm”).
  • 2 ½ c flour,
  • 1 t salt (sift, make a well in the centre).
  • Add the yeast & milk mixtures to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix with an old wooden spoon and beat well.
  • Turn onto the breakfast bar & knead well until smooth & elastic.
  • Raise in the hot water cupboard for 10-15 mins until dough doubles in size.
  • Knead dough lightly and form into even sliced rolls. Prove for 10-15 mins or until rolls double in size.
  • Cook at 250C just above middle for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.
  • Serve with butter, cheese or jam while still hot.

Where the babies come from: Waikato Hospital from across Hamilton Lake.

Ewart and Genevieve

Coconut Ice

  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk,
  • 3-4 c icing sugar,
  • 4 c coconut,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 4-6 drops red food colouring.
  • Combine 3 c of icing sugar with condensed milk, coconut & vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add remaining icing sugar if required to make firm. Press half the mixture into the base of a 20cm square cake tin.
  • Colour remaining mixture and spread over the white coconut ice. Chill until firm, cut into squares and serve to the soccer team after a match or wrap in small plastic bags for the school fair.

Apple Crumble

  • Stewed apple (enough to fill a pie dish.)
  • 1/3 c flour,
  • 25g Anchor butter,
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • 2 T brown sugar,
  • 1 T rolled oats.
  • Mix together flour, cinnamon, oats & brown sugar.
  • Melt butter.
  • Add melted butter to dry ingredients.
  • Sprinkle mixture on top of apple. Bake at 190C for 20-30 min or until golden brown.
  • Serve with Swiss Maid Custard.
  • Variation: chopped walnuts & raisins & cinnamon can also be added to the apple mixture.

Nana Satchwell’s Apricot Squares

  • 4oz Anchor butter,
  • ½ tin sweetened condensed milk,
  • 3oz brown sugar,
  • 1 pkt crushed Girl Guide biscuits,
  • 1 c dried chopped apricots.
  • Melt butter, sugar & condensed milk together.
  • Add apricots and biscuits.
  • Press into a slightly greased tin & sprinkle with coconut (optional). Leave to set in the fridge.
  • Retain half the resulting for the family & drop the other half off to your best friend.

Ginger Crunch

  • 4oz Anchor butter,
  • 4oz sugar,
  • 7oz flour,
  • 1 t ground ginger,
  • 1 t baking powder.
  • Cream butter & sugar, add sifted dried ingredients.
  • Knead well & press into a shallow greased tin. Bake 20-25 mins at 180C.
  • Put into a saucepan
  • 7 T butter,
  • 4 T icing sugar,
  • 2 t golden syrup,
  • 1 t ground ginger.
  • Heat until melted then pour over slice while hot & cut into squares before it gets cold. Serve in school lunches.

Nearest town and school; Otorohanga


  • 2 c brown or white sugar,
  • 2 c water,
  • 1 T vinegar,
  • 1 T Anchor butter.
  • Put all ingredients into a saucepan  Boil without stirring until a little tried in cold water snaps.
  • Pour into buttered muffin dishes and serve to the kids in school lunches or as a weekend treat wrapped in greaseproof paper.
Hamilton Boys High School

Hamilton Boys High School

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 large onion,
  • 1 packet mince,
  • 1 clove crushed garlic,
  • 1 tin tomatoes,
  • generous serving of frozen mixed vege,
  • cheese grated,
  • soy sauce & worcestershire sauce to taste.
  • Brown chopped onion & garlic in a little olive oil. Add mince & cook until brown. At the same time cook potatoes & mixed vege.
  • Combine mince, chopped canned tomatoes, a little soy sauce & worcestershire sauce to taste with mixed vege in a casserole dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes & then grated cheese.
  • Cook at 180C for 15-20 mins until cheese is golden brown. Serve for a winter dinner round the TV.

Eggy Bread & Strawberries

  • 1 punnet of strawberries,
  • 1 T sugar.
  • Cut strawberries into halves & remove the leaves. Put into a bowl & sprinkle with sugar.
  • Wrap bowl in a tea towel & refrigerate.
  • Combine 2 eggs with 1 T milk and a shake of nutmeg. Beat vigorously.
  • Heat a frying pan & melt butter to cover the bottom.
  • Dip white bread or slices of French toast into the egg mixture & cook through over a moderate heat.
  • Serve eggy bread with strawberries & reduced sauce out of the bowl. May also top with whipped cream or marscapone. The perfect anniversary breakfast-in-bed treat!

Pumpkin and Vege Soup

  • 1 pumpkin,
  • 1 large onion,
  • 2 carrots grated,
  • several sticks of celery cut finely,
  • 1 packet onion soup,
  • 2 c water,
  • pepper to season.
  • Carefully cut up pumpkin into pieces & place in a saucepan. Cover with water & add onion soup mix.
  • Heat until boiling then turn down to simmer. Leave for half an hour.
  • Cut up onion & add with carrot & celery to the broth. Season to taste.
  • Allow to reduce before blending to smooth consistency.
  • Serve in bowls with hot buttered toast or 60 minute rolls.

The essential Kiwi fritter

  • 1 ¼ c flour
  • 1 ½ t baking powder,
  • ½ t salt,
  • 2 eggs,
  • ¾ c milk.
  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  • Beat eggs, then beat in the milk. Pour into the well and stir until the dry ingredients are just dampened. Add corn, whitebait, cut cooked vegetables or any leftovers into the batter & stir.
  • Cook in a frying pan in a little butter or olive oil and serve with a salad or with relish for a quick and easy lunch after Saturday sport with the kids.
After-sport playground. Farmlet and district, Otorohanga

After-sport playground. Farmlet and district, Otorohanga


  • 4 egg whites,
  • ¼ t salt,
  • 1 c caster sugar,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 1 t vinegar,
  • 2 t cornflour,
  • 1 bottle cream (whipped) & fresh fruit to top.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Place egg whites & salt in a bowl. Beat until peaks just fold over when spoon is removed. Beat in caster sugar 1-2 T at a time.
  • Continue to beat until the mixture is very stiff. Beat in the vanilla essence, vinegar & cornflour. Place mixture on baking paper on an oven tray.
  • Bake for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until surface is crisp and lightly coloured. Cool on rack. Top with cream & fresh fruit & serve generously to family.

Fruit Salad

  • Take a generous amount of fruit. Cut into chunks & serve in a large bowl.
  • Great with whipped cream or on its own as the perfect end to a wedding supper.
Elaine, 4yrs, flower girl at Auntie’s wedding

Elaine, 4yrs, flower girl at Auntie’s wedding

Melted Moro Bars with fruit

  • 65g Moro Bar
  • ¼ c light sour cream,
  • selection of fresh fruit
  • Cut the Moro Bar into 1cm wide slices.
  • Microwave on 50% power for 1 ½ – 2 mins or until melted.
  • Add sour cream and stir vigorously until smooth and creamy.
  • May need to return the sauce to the microwave oven for 20-30 seconds and beat again. Serve with seasonal fruit.
  • An alternative to the healthy fruit salad (tastier too!)

Sunday Breakfast

  • Take 5 eggs (1 extra for Dad) 8 rashers of bacon, 3 tomatoes halved (none for Genevieve) and 8 pieces of bread.
  • Preheat the oven to grill at a medium heat. Arrange bacon on a draining rack over a baking dish & put under the grill. Tomatoes also cooked like this.
  • Heat water in a saucepan until boiling. Add eggs to the water & watch carefully to avoid overheating (runny yolks a must.)
  • Toast bread and keep warm in the oven. Arrange toast, eggs, bacon & tomato (except for Genevieve) on warm plates & serve over the breakfast bar with orange juice.
  • Note: The kitchen on Sunday morning is Dad’s domain.

Xmas Breakfast

  • As per previous recipe, but Dad won’t be ready until 10am and the presents must wait until after breakfast & Dad’s shower & dressing….

Birthday Chocolate Cake

  • 4 oz Anchor butter,
  • 1 c sugar,
  • 1 egg,
  • 1 t vanilla essence,
  • 1 T vinegar,
  • 1 T golden syrup,
  • 2 c flour,
  • 1 t baking powder,
  • 1 T cocoa,
  • ¾ c milk,
  • extra ¾ c milk with 1 t baking soda dissolved in it.
  • First pull out the birthday cake book and allow the birthday child to choose a cake design of their choice.
  • Next, cream butter & sugar. Add egg, vanilla, vinegar & golden syrup. Sift flour, baking powder & cocoa.
  • Add alternately with milk. Lastly add milk with baking soda. Put in a ring tin & microwave for 13-15 mins.
  • Decorate according to the child’s wishes, adorn with candles, and serve with chippies, jelly and other birthday treats. Spoil the child enough to last them until Xmas!
Elaine and Jason.

Elaine and Jason.


  • 2 c water,
  • 2 ½ c milk,
  • 2 c rolled oats,
  • ½ c bran flakes,
  • ¼ – ½ t salt.
  • Bring the water & milk to the boil in a saucepan. Stir in the rolled oats, bran flakes and salt. Cover the pan & simmer over a low heat for about 5 mins or until the porridge is thick and creamy. Stir occasionally.
  • Cover in a very thick crust of brown sugar & top with a little milk to hide the taste of the porridge & turn a healthy breakfast into a sticky sweet. This breakfast is to be avoided, when at all possible.


  • 1 c flour,
  • 2 T sugar,
  • 2 t baking powder,
  • 1/8 t salt,
  • 1 egg,
  • 2 T Anchor butter melted.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Beat the egg, then beat in the milk & melted butter. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Cooking in a frying pan over a moderate heat in a little butter until golden brown.
  • Serve with Grandad’s raspberry jam and whipped cream.


  • 3 c plain flour,
  • 6 t baking powder,
  • ¼ t salt,
  • 50g Anchor butter,
  • 1 ¼ c milk.
  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl (or mixer). Cut in butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (hence the mixer).
  • Add milk and mix quickly to a soft dough.
  • Lightly knead. Lightly dust an oven tray with flour. Press scone dough out onto this. Cut into even pieces, leave 2cm between scones. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 200C for 10 min until golden brown.
  • Serve for the family with butter, cheese, gherkins, jam, peanut butter, meats and a selection of relishes & chutneys and whatever else can be found in the fridge to go on the breakfast bar.
House, pool and back yard. Breakfast bar through ranch slider doors from deck.

House, pool and back yard. Breakfast bar through ranch slider doors from deck.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 family block Caramello chocolate,
  • 2 egg yolks beaten,
  • 2 egg whites whipped to peaking,
  • 1 bottle cream whipped.
  • Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Fold in egg yolks & stir until chocolate has a glazed appearance.
  • Fold in the whipped cream, followed by the egg whites one T at a time. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve either on its own or with fruit, or stir chocolate balls through the mousse for a uniquely “Mum” treat.

Anzac Biscuits

  • 100g Anchor butter,
  • 1 T golden syrup,
  • ½ c sugar,
  • ¾ c coconut,
  • ¾ c rolled oats,
  • ¾ c flour,
  • 1 t baking soda,
  • 1 T hot water.
  • Melt butter and syrup together in a large saucepan. Cool. Mix sugar, coconut, rolled oats & flour together. Stir into saucepan. Dissolve soda in hot water & mix in. Place rounded teaspoonful on a greased tray. Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until golden.
  • Serve to English relatives and colleagues for a uniquely ANZAC experience with biscuits!
ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Photo by Genevieve

ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Photo by Genevieve

Banana Cake

  • 125g Anchor butter,
  • ¾ c sugar,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 1 cup mashed bananas,
  • 1 t baking soda,
  • 1 T hot milk,
  • 2 c plain baking flour,
  • 1 t baking powder.
  • Take one foster sister home for a rare visit and set to work for all those cookies she’ll take with her. Cream butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add mashed banana & mix thoroughly.
  • Stir soda into hot milk & add to creamed mixture.
  • Sift flour & baking powder together. Stir into mixture.
  • Turn into a greased, lined 20cm cake tin. Bake at 180C for 50 mins or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 10 mins before turning out onto cooling rack.
  • Eat while still warm because with family in the house, it will never last until cold.


Backyard BBQ

  • Take a healthy dose of Kiwi sunshine, 1 set of plastic outdoor furniture, several salads (including a potato salad) a selection of meat (steak NOT optional) & a generous loaf of bread.
  • Cook the meat over the BBQ, serve onto a plate on the table. Serve yourself, relax & take a dip in the pool after lunch!
Nice place for a BBQ, NZ

Nice place for a BBQ, NZ

Chicken Kebabs

  • Skewer pieces of chicken, slices of courgettes, mushroom halves, pineapple pieces and capsicum onto skewers.
  • Roast over BBQ, relax and enjoy as per previous recipe.

Beef Nachos

  • 1 packet mince,
  • 1 onion chopped,
  • 1 can tomatoes,
  • 1 pottle tomato paste,
  • 1 can baked beans,
  • 100g cheese (grated) nacho chips,
  • sour cream to top.
  • Fry onion in olive oil until soft. Add meat and cook until brown. Add canned tomatoes (chopped) tomato paste & baked beans. Reduce heat and simmer. Arrange over nacho chips, top with cheese & microwave on high for 1 min to melt cheese.
  • Top with sour cream & sprinkle with Tobasco sauce if required.

Chocolate Cup Cakes

  • 50g Anchor butter,
  • 50g brown sugar,
  • 1 egg beaten,
  • 75g self-raising flour,
  • 3 T cocoa, pinch salt,
  • 120ml milk.
  • Microwave butter & sugar on high for 20-30 secs. Whisk until creamy. Add egg and whisk well.
  • Mix in flour, cocoa & salt alternatively with milk. Mix until smooth,
  • Place in microwave muffin cases in muffin tray. Half fill each case, elevate and microwave on high for 2 min.
  • Remove cup cakes from tray and leave to cool.
  • Serve still warm with whipped cream and kiwifruit for a messy treat for the parents on kids’ cooking night.

Pizza Elaine Style

  • Make 1 batch scone mixture (as above).
  • Roll out onto a pizza tray.
  • Top with tomato paste, spaghetti, onion, pineapple, bacon, tomato & other ingredients as required. Top with cheese.
  • Bake at 180C until base is cooked through & cheese is golden brown.

Honeyed Yams

  • Chop ends off the yams.
  • Slice into 2mm wide slices.
  • Gently fry in a little butter until yam slices are a little softened and golden brown.
  • Stir through 1 t honey & serve with chicken and other vegetables.

Cheese on Toast

  • Wait until half time in a 2am-starting All Blacks Test or the FA Cup Final. Then toast bread, top with cheese and grill in the oven.
  • Share between father & daughter, with a cup of tea for Dad.
  • Must be speedily made to avoid missing any of the second half.
Photo of the All Blacks by Genevieve

Photo of the All Blacks by Genevieve


  • 200g Anchor butter,
  • ½ c sugar,
  • 1 ¼ c plain flour,
  • ¼ c cocoa,
  • 2 c Cornflakes.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Sift flour & cocoa. Stir into creamed mixture.
  • Fold in Cornflakes. Spoon mounds of mixture onto a greased oven tray, gently pressing together.
  • Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until set.
  • When cold ice with chocolate icing and decorate with walnut halves (‘cause that’s the best bit!)

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Take a couple of handfulls of mushrooms and return them to the refrigerator.
  • Time is just too short to stuff mushrooms, and food should be relaxed and casual to be most enjoyed by this family.
  • Simple, substantial fare!

Hokey Pokey

  • 5 T sugar,
  • 2 T golden syrup,
  • 1 t baking soda.
  • Put sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase the heat & cook until mixture just starts to boil. Stir occasionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
  • Add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths up.
  • Pour into battered tin immediately. Leave until cold and hard.
  • Break into pieces and serve.
  • May have to be repeated often if Jeremy is visiting from Aus.

Potatoes in Cream

  • Slice potatoes thinly (don’t need to be pealed), slice one onion thinly, ½ pot of cream, grated cheese.
  • Layer potato and onion. Every couple of layers pour over small amount of cream and sprinkle with grated cheese. May also sprinkle parsley through this dish. Top with cheese.
  • Bake at 180C for 30-45 mins.
  • Serve with glazed orange carrots, buttered beans and meat of your choice.
Our wedding invitation photo in Genevieve’s recipe book. Nice touch, Love...

Our wedding invitation photo in Genevieve’s recipe book.
Nice touch, Love…

Vegetable Bake Off

  • 8 mushrooms halved,
  • 4 tomatoes (cut into 8 pieces)
  • courgettes (thickly sliced)
  • yellow capsicum (in thick strips)
  • potato & pumpkin (cut into chunks & microwaved on high to soften)
  • pieces of feta cheese,
  • basil pesto,
  • olive oil.
  • Toss all ingredients except olive oil into a generous roasting dish. Dot with basil pesto & drizzle over olive oil. Bake at 180C for 45 mins or until ingredients are turning golden brown.
  • Serve on generous plates at Genevieve’s Auckland house for a group of friends, or alone.
Auckland City from Mt Victoria

Auckland City from Mt Victoria

Creamy Pasta Bows with Chicken

  • Pasta bows (boiled)
  • ½ punnet cream,
  • juice of 1 lemon,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast,
  • 1 yellow or red capsicum,
  • handful mushrooms.
  • Saute onion in a frying pan in a little olive oil.
  • Add chicken & brown.
  • Pour over cream & lemon. Bring to a slow boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer for a further 5 mins.
  • Serve with chilled white wine (can be de-alcoholised) for a low fuss but high impact meal to be enjoyed by guests.

Auckland City

Mini Auckland Pizzas

  • 4 pita breads,
  • tomato paste,
  • oregano,
  • feta cheese cubes.
  • Toast pita breads. Arrange on a baking tray.
  • Cover with tomato paste. Sprinkle with oregano ( can also use rosemary) either fresh or from a jar.
  • Top with feta cheese cubes & grill for approx 2 mins.
  • Serve in front of the Tennis Open on Sky Digital.

An Auckland kauri villa

Potato Salad

  • Cut potatoes into generous chunks.
  • Cook in a pan until cooked through. Allow to cool.
  • Combine mayonnaise with mustard and toss through potatoes. Sprinkle with spring onions, capsicum & fresh herbs.
  • Toss the salad & serve in a generous platter by the BBQ.
Auckland Harbour from the Devonport Ferry

Auckland Harbour from the Devonport Ferry

Chocolate Log

  • 1 packet chocolate chippie biscuits,
  • generous serving of sherry,
  • one bottle of cream whipped.
  • Soak biscuits in sherry one at a time.
  • Arrange in a log shape with whipped cream between individual biscuits and then around the log.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate flakes.
  • Refrigerate until chilled through.
  • Serve infrequently; divine, but very rich.
Bird of paradise flower, Auckland

Bird of paradise flower, Auckland


Building Candyfloss

By Graeme Tearle, Thames, NZ, 2009

This story was originally a conversation between Graeme and a friend of his (floatingkiwi) in an on-line magazine. I have kept all the Kiwi-isms and most of the participants’ comments.

This is how I built my Townson 25’ Candyfloss

There is nothing particularly outstanding about my accomplishment. In the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s hundreds of Kiwis were building boats of all sorts in sheds, garages & back yards all over New Zealand. If you couldn’t afford to buy one, and most couldn’t, you built one. It was the finest flowering of the Kiwi “do it yourself” tradition. Choose a designer, buy a plan, start building. I chose Des Townson. I liked the look of his boats. I thought they were the prettiest yachts I had ever seen. And I knew they performed well. I had raced against them in other boats & got thoroughly trounced every time, and talking to their skippers I knew they handled beautifully too.

Des Townson’s building method, like the boats themselves, was entirely his own creation. He was self taught. Nothing wildly outside the box, but “different”, what worked for him, and what he thought looked right.

25 feet was as big as I could afford, as big as I thought I could build, as big as I thought I could handle. Big enough to do everything I wanted to do. The year is 1986. I am 38 years old, married for the second time, with no children. Let’s build a boat.


First buy a plan. Buy some ply, source some kauri and mahogany. Lay out your offsets.

Cut out your bulkheads, shape & fit doublers around the edges. Kauri next the hull, mahogany in the cutouts. Make up the temporary frames. Mine were just rough-sawn pine, screwed together with buttblocks.


Make up the girders (more on those later), assemble the whole lot in your mother-in-law’s packing shed.
Beryl lived on a “lifestyle” block a few miles out of town where she grew orchids for export. We could have the packing shed for the ten months or so between seasons. No pressure, mind. As soon as the orchids were out, we were in, like a rat up a drainpipe.

A question from TimmS: I’m just curious, are you still married? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

New Zealand kauri is a spectacularly successful boatbuilding material. It is light, strong, medium density, close-grained, straight-grained, resinous, rot-resistant and grows without a knot for the height of its trunk. And they were bloody big trees. The biggest of them were 60ft diameter at the base. Alas, they are all gone now, except for a few prized specimens which have attained the status of national icons. Which well they might. I got one that was probably one of the last to come out of the Coromandel. A cocky (farmer) found it in a gully, abandoned during the bullocky days as being too hard to get out, & those old guys didn’t give up easy. He pulled it out with a D8, milled it into 6x6s, stored it in a shed for a couple of years, then offered it for sale. It was beautiful stuff, and we shall not see the like again. Though it had lain in a stream for the better part of a hundred years, it was still perfect. I bought as much as I could afford, as much as I thought I needed, loaded it on a trailer & towed it home behind my Morris 1100. Slowly.


 Set up a vaguely boat-shaped frame on the floor, build your strong back. Set up your temporary frames & bulkheads in their rightful places, straight, square and all in a line. Fit the girders. These planks-on-edge run from frame #2 in the v-berth area, thru the half-bulkheads at the mast, to the companionway bulkhead, and add enormous strength to the structure. They especially resist the fore-and-aft bendingforces imposed by a masthead rig with a 150% headsail and bar-taut forestay & backstay enabling a very straight headsail luff & stunning performance to weather. Later in the build they will be disguised as the bunk fronts.


We took our trailerload of kauri to a friendly boatbuilder with a huge bandsaw, who ripped the 1/4in x 6in planks, the 1 x 1 stringers, 6 x 1 general building stock and 6×2 for laminating, for beer. We took that lot to a mate who had an old Tanner manual feed thicknesser. It took us two days to mill it all.


Tim, it depends on your definition of “disaster”. All four of my marriages ended in disaster. This one at least I got a boat.

A comment from D Gentry:

OhmiGod, this is like, totally awesome!
Err, except for the divorce parts.

Keep it coming!
Dave Gentry

Hmm, now I’m wondering if they recognize 80’s valleyspeak in NZ….

A comment from Willin’: Seems like every corner we turned while touring your lovely country there was a lovely grove of kauri being preservered. Otherwise, all the planted forests seemed to be radiata pines, what we call Monterey pine up here. I always wondered why you guys didn’t try to replenish the kauris more agressively. Monterey pine is firewood up here.

Laminate, cut out & set up your stem.

This is laminated Kiwi style, two thicknesses side by side, joints staggered. Knotch cut for “master” stringer. Pencil marks on frames show where “master” stringer will go. This is specified on the plan. All other stringers run parallel to “master” stringer, at 6in centers.


Transom laminated over a throw-away form, fitted & knotched for keelson & “master” stringer.


Knotching the girders for the keel floors.


Keel floors laminated & being set in. The plans specify the shape of the largest end of each of these.

Keel floors in place on the girders.
If you turn your monitor upside down you will get a preview of how the interior will look. Or stand on your head. My spindly legs are protruding thru the hull in the v-berth area, to port. To starboard is the half-bulkhead & support post for the mast. Behind it will be the head. The port setee will be built on top of the port girder. There is one knotch left in the girder for the floor that will support the half-bulkhead.
But wait, there’s more…

Willin’, all the planted forests are radiata. The only use I have for it is firewood & it’s not particularly good at that. We were a long time realizing what a valuable resource we had squandered.
I was one of those who chained myself to a tree in the Pureora Forest, the last remaining stand of untouched native bush in the North Island of NZ. My brother-in-law was one of those who was coming to cut it down. It was a tense time.

Native tree replanting is the in thing to do these days, but it will be a long time before you can call any of it native forest again.

Did I mention Janet & I were both working full time during this? Well, now it was really full time. Every night after work & a hurried dinner till 11:00 or so, & all weekend.

My dad. “Master” stringer run out & second one also. Keelson laminated in place. Gunnel fitted.

Dave. My daughter taught me Valleyspeak during her teenage years. Thank God, she grew out of it.


We scarfed the stringers & the gunnels on the floor, and rounded all the corners that would be seen. If I had been real fussy I would have stopped the rounding at each of the bulkheads to give a larger gluing surface, but time was short & I doubted my ability to do it perfectly. One missed stop & the whole job is blown. Besides it means fitting it all twice…..& I had estimated my requirements perfectly. I had no spare stock.

All the stringers fitted, the stem, keelson, girders, & floors faired. Ready to start planking. You can see the two shelves in the forepeak? The upper one (as the boat is in the pic) is the floor of a shelf accessible from the v-berth. The lower one will be the floor of the anchor locker.


End of week one. We were pretty happy, but Janet was after us to hurry up.
The stringers are glued & screwed to the outside of the bulkheads, not knotched in. The table of offsets is corrected for this, so all dimensions, except for the transom, are to the inside of the stringers. The transom is to the inside of the planking. You get your money’s worth when you buy a Townson plan.


Comment from floatingkiwi

I really didn’t mean to sound so “forward”, this morning but I am glad it might have encouraged you to pull this lot out of the archives. Awesome Graeme! This is just great. I like the first hand history stuff from a fellow Kiwi as well. Pile it on mate.
Mate,I didn’t know you wuz married 4 times! Man have you lived!!

Start your planking. Des calls for the first skin to be laid at right angles to the keel. This seems wasteful of planking material to me, so I lay my first plank on to cover as much area as possible.

Second plank is pushed up against it & scribed, removed, shaped, fitted, scribed, removed, shaped, fitted & glued. At end of day one we have fitted three planks per side. Janet has a fit. This is obviously going to take too long. A hurried call to a mate (this is what yacht clubs are for) produces a router with a jig for doing just this. Thus begins my enduring love affair with routers.

The jig is very simple. Just a metal plate with a hole thru it & a guide welded on off to one side of the hole, screwed to the bottom of the router. A straight-sided bit set to the right depth completes the rig. Tack your new plank next the old one with a small gap top & bottom. Run the guide on the router along the edge of the old plank. In a shower of router dust your new plank is shaped to match the old one. Tack on another plank and repeat. When you have three or four, remove the lot, move them over, glue them down. Trim off the top edge. Repeat on the other side. This is more like it. Now we are getting it done.

All the planks are on.


Knock off all the high spots & proud edges with a belt sander.


Comment from Willin’: Great hair!

Time for my dad to go home, but I still have a weeks holiday left.

Start the second skin. It should go on at 45 deg to the keel, but once again I go for maximum coverage. My plank stockpile is looking scary low.


First planks on. Any edges that resisted laying flat were screwed down with 1/2in 12 guage PK screws. These have large heads, so don’t need washers, & will not show on the inside. When the glue dries, they are removed & reused.


Janet now feels she has contributed enough to come out from behind the camera & be included in the album.

I had to use some pretty raggedy looking planks by the time I got to here, but there is not much bend & it will be easy to fill.

Getting near the end.


Job done.


Rum time! And a very happy Janet.

During my three week “holiday” we have gone from bare building jig to completed hull. I’m pretty happy too.

Folks, meet the real Candyfloss.

I have a mate who is the art teacher at a local High School. He paints this for me.

She goes here on the transom. I hope she doesn’t get too cold.


Sanding first.
I’m being really good here. Even wearing my dustmask & earmuffs!


Flatten the area where the keel is to go. Build up the keel stump. Fill all holes, cracks & voids. Roll on two coats of resin. Run out of resin. Go buy more.


Ditto at the back end for the rudder skeg.


Roll on lots of paint. Do lots of sanding. BORING.


That’s near enough. The fish don’t care if your bottom is not perfectly smooth. The routed groove in the transom is for the backstay chainplate.

Time to fire up the barbecue. What for, you say? This is the Kiwi way, mate.


Comment from Hywl: Many Americans will not know that Candy Floss translates to Cotton Candy.

Thankyou Hwyl. You learn something new every day. I hope lots of Americans are enjoying my memoir.

Buy in lots of beer, wine for the girls, chips, dips, peanuts, sausages, lamb chops. What else? Make sure there is gas in the bottle! Bring in the troops.

Take off the front of the shed. Yes, I always knew I would have to do this. It’s only a bloody shed.


Tie some ropes around the boat for better grip.

Pick up your boat & carry it out.


Put it down on the grass & roll it over.


I get my first look inside. I get my first look at her from a distance. I get my first look at her the right way up. She looks beautiful to me.


Before this, it was a hull. Before that, it was a building jig. Before that, it was a pile frames in a shed. Before that it was a sheaf of papers. Now we have a boat. She is the right way up. I can now call her “she”. A very proud moment.

We pick her back up & carry her back inside. We prop her up temporarily. Later I will build a cradle for her to sit in, but meanwhile……..


Party time!!!!!

It’s six months since we started.

We have now entered 1987

“We are not here to build a boat. We are here to go sailing”.
Remind yourself of this as you drag your sorry spirit out of bed on Sunday the morning after & go to make coffee. But there will be more boatbuilding before the sailing begins.

And the first thing we will need are some deck beams. The position & camber are shown in the plans. Knotch them for the carlins & run them out.


Side decks & cockpit seats are on the same level, but different cambers.

Lay your decks. Seal them underneath first.


The cabin side coamings are solid mahogany. Their exact shape & those of the windows are given in the plans. Better get the windows right or Des will mention it when he sees them. It is his signature. The fore coaming is laminated over a throw-away form.


The cabin coamings & cockpit coamings are all one. To fit the coamings in the cockpit, dry fit the coamings, draw both sides on the deck, remove the coamings, drill down thru the carlins, refit the coamings, screw up from underneath. Better have the angle right.

We need a roof to complete our cosy little home.


Re-erect your temporary frames. That is why we have not taken them out yet. Cut off all protruding bits & bevel edges where necessary. Run 2×1 temporary stringers fore & aft. Cut your 1/4in ply in 2ft wide strips & fit as per planking. Laminate three layers, joints staggered.


When finished, cut off excessive amounts of excess. Remove the roof, stringers & temporary frames.

Finish the inside of your roof on the ground. This is much easier than sanding & painting overhead, a job to be avoided at all costs.


Comment from RFNK

Cripes Graeme! Where have you been hiding all this! What a great thread! And this is brilliant:

The jig is very simple. Just a metal plate with a hole thru it & a guide welded on off to one side of the hole, screwed to the bottom of the router. A straight-sided bit set to the right depth completes the rig. Tack your new plank next the old one with a small gap top & bottom. Run the guide on the router along the edge of the old plank. In a shower of router dust your new plank is shaped to match the old one. Tack on another plank and repeat. When you have three or four, remove the lot, move them over, glue them down. Trim off the top edge. Repeat on the other side. This is more like it. Now we are getting it done.

How fantastic that you documented all this so well at the time. Thanks! Rick

Time to get serious about the interior. It is way easier to do this in a boat without standing headroom while the roof is off.

Quarter berths going in. The starboard one will later receive the chart table, a simple,shallow drawer that slides out from under the deck. Cockpit looking more complete, but awaiting the…


No, not this. Galley framed up. Des did not include a galley in this boat. He designed her as a Hauraki Gulf day sailor, but I live in Tauranga, not Auckland, & when I stick my nose out of the harbour entrance, Chile is to starboard & the lovely, tropical island paradise of the Kingdom of Tonga is straight ahead. Beyond Tonga is Alaska. I’m not going to any of those places in this boat, but I will be gone for weeks at a time, so decent cooking facilities are a must-have.



Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil, 1881, Chiswick, UK

Contributed by Wendy Skelley, Auckland, New Zealand.

Born: 16 June 1881 in Chiswick, Middlesex, England

Died: 28 February 1967, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a young man when his father died in 1900. It was not long after that he became a soldier.

Boer War as an Australian soldier

Service Number 99, of the 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen (6th QIB);

Served in the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa from May 1901 to May 1902.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Description on Enlistment
Name……………………………………Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil
Hair…………………………………….. Dark Brown
Height……………………………………5 feet 5.5 inches
Weight…………………………………..8 stone 12 pounds
Chest measurement……………………..32.5 inches
Chest Expansion…………………………34.75 inches
Age………………………………………22 years and 7 months

Badge of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen

The 6th QIB departed from Australia at Pinkenba, Brisbane on April the 4th 1901 on the British transport “Victoria”. Upon arriving at Cape Town on May the 2nd 1901, the convey moved out and proceeded to Durban arriving on the 7th of May. Near Ermelo on the 21st Boers sniped at the flank with the 6th QIB suffering a few casualties; however they succeeded in capturing 15 Boers and much stock.

June 2nd, sustained their first loss to enteric fever. Brisk engagement on the 11th at Kaffir’s Spruit. Surprised and captured a laager on the 13th at Kopjesfontein on the right of the Vaal River. On the 21st June captured two Boer conveys suffering some casualties. June 22nd fighting at Lindique Drift with some casualties.

During August made substantial captures at Bultfontein. September, October and November in operations at Wakkerstroom district and east of the Transvaal. During December marched to Newcastle by Botha’s Pass and through Drakensberg to provide protective cover during the construction of blockhouses in that corner of the Orange River Colony.

On the 2nd of February 1902 at Liebenberg’s Vlei the 6th Imperial Bushmen joined with the New Zealanders and pursued a Boer convey in the area then charged the enemy’s rear guard with much gallantry, whilst the South African Light Horse bravely rushed the centre. Three guns with 3 wagons of ammunition, 26 prisoners (including 2 captains and a field cornet), 150 horses and mules plus 750 cattle were taken. Five Boers were killed and eight wounded. By the end of February after a big drive 300 prisoners had been taken.

During March and April several drives were undertaken with similar success. The 6th QIB embarked at Durban on May the 17th, 1902 in the Transport Devon and arrived at Albany on the 5th of June, Sydney on the 13th and Brisbane on the 17th then disbanded on the 23rd June 1902.

E.B.C. Cecil as a private was paid 5 shillings per day. A proportion amounting to 1 shilling was requested to be paid in South Africa for personal needs with the balance of his pay of 4 shillings to be forwarded to his mother Mrs. A.C.Cecil C/- Albion Post Office, Brisbane.

Mrs. A.C.Cecil resided in Brisbane at the corner of Milne Street and Old Sandgate Road (now Bonny Avenue), Albion in a residence named “Fernmount”.

E.B.C. Cecil was issued, upon arrival in South Africa, with a Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* Serial No B394 in .303 British calibre. He carried this weapon throughout the campaign and suitably engraved the butt stock to commemorate his contribution.

This particular specimen with the serial number B 394 was the 10,394th in a production run of 26,647 for the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1*. Manufactured at Enfield in 1900, The Mark 1* was the last of the line of the Lee Enfield Carbines.

This mark or model replaced the Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1 as a result of the abolition of all clearing rods in British service in 1899. The Mark 1* was the same in all respects with the exception of the omission of the clearing rod. The mark was introduced into British service on August 7th 1899 and replaced in 1902 by the standard British all Services weapon the Short Magazine Lee Enfield Rifle Mark 1.

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

Lee Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mark 1* used in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902..

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

The engraved butt of Burleigh’s rifle.

Egerton’s Boer war history and gun are featured in the book “Carvings from the Veldt” written by Dave George.

Information on his record indicates E.B.C. Cecil was not wounded or incapacitated by illness and returned to Australia healthy.

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.

Carvings from the Veldt

Carvings from the Veldt

Private Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil was issued with a Queens South Africa medal and two clasps   ‘SA 1901 and SA 1902’.


During 1902 Egerton returned to Durban, Natal in South Africa to obtain employment. His brother was also in Natal at this time. It is unknown if he obtained employment, but while there he met Katherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe), who was also in South Africa with her husband.

New Zealand

By 1907 Egerton is living in New Zealand with a Catherine Tebay (nee O’Keeffe). She was also known as Kathleen Frances Cecil and Kathleen F Tebay. She had married Mr Robert Tebay at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in September 1900. It is unknown what happened to her husband. No record of him after their marriage has been found.

The family story is that Egerton & Catherine met in Pretoria, South Africa and returned to New Zealand together. Egerton’s brother Aubrey was also in Pretoria in 1902. Robert Tebay’s brother, John, died in Natal about 1902; I cannot find war records for either of them.

After they settled in New Zealand together, Egerton and Catherine lived at Arahiri, Putaruru in the North Island where he was a sawmill hand, they were still living there on the 1911 census.

They had two children: Burleigh Victor Cecil (1907) and Melba Doreen (1908). Both children were registered without a father’s name, and with their mother’s married surname – Tebay. However, Egerton accepted responsibility for his illegitimate children, and in 1917 his son’s birth certificate was amended with his name certified as father. (They are also acknowledged in his estate after he died.)

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

Vic, Burleigh, Kath and Dolly

During 1914 the family lived at 1 Montague Street, Newton, Auckland. Egerton was working for the New Zealand Railways.

Sadly in 1916 things got rough and Egerton was convicted of assault and sentenced to six months hard labour in Auckland. Due to circumstances the children were taken from Egerton and Catherine and became wards of the state. Egerton and Catherine separated under difficult circumstances.

Before Egerton left for war in 1918 he married Edith May Viall (who already had a young daughter called Lily) and they lived together in Mahurangi, Rodney, Auckland. Egerton was working as a clerk.

Egerton embarked on the 16th May 1918 at Wellington, New Zealand.

While he was away at war his brother, Aubrey Bruce Cooper Cecil, died in Brisbane, Australia.

WW1 as a New Zealand Soldier



The Ionic, one of the ships used in the transportation of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to join British troops in WW1.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The cover of the on-board magazine and the details of the transportation.

The following is sourced from Egerton’s WW1 Medical Files:

5 November 1918  Injury to his right ankle while in France when his trench was blown in by a shell explosion.

28 November 1918   While he was in hospital he developed influenza.

10 January 1919  Medical notes from NZ Command Depot, Codford, Wiltshire, England    2 month med cert.

9 April 1919   HMNZTS Paparoa, 3 month med cert.

24 June 1919   Certificates sent from Sick & Wounded records to Base records.

20 August 1919  Letter for report of medical prognosis from military base.

7 October 1919  Auckland base, 3 month med cert.

We have no record of when he became a sergeant.

It is noted however, on Egerton’s medical records that he was wounded on the 5th November 1918 in France. It is possible that he was involved with the recapture of the French town – Le Quesnoy.

One report says:

“As recently as a week before the Armistice, on 4 November 1918, New Zealand troops had been involved in the successful recapture of the French town of Le Quesnoy. The attack cost the lives of about 90 New Zealand soldiers virtually the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918.”

New Zealand had the highest per-capita loss of any nation involved in WW1.

Another report notes:

“Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. It was the New Zealanders’ last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier. Visiting New Zealanders are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.”

The War Effort of New Zealand; The Codford Depot

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

New Zealand Command Depot, Codford (circa 1918)

To give you a little flavour of the times, above is an illustration of the NZ command depot, Codford, pictured in the War Art archives

… when the wounded or invalided soldiers were sufficiently recovered to leave Hornchurch, they were sent to the Command Depot at Codford to be “hardened” for further active service training.

… This, also, was the first stage on the return journey to the trenches.

Life after the War

After Egerton came back from the war, he moved with Edith May and her daughter Lily to 9 Edgerley Ave in Epsom, Auckland. The house has since been demolished to make way for what is now the Newmarket overpass for the motorway.

Egerton became a motorman and worked for the Transport Board. They had two daughters together, Thelma and Winifred (pictures at end of Egerton’s story).

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton and Edith May Cecil

Egerton’s mother, Elizabeth, was living with the family in Epsom when she died in 1929. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Waikumete Cemetery, west of Auckland.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

The unmarked grave in Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, of Elizabeth Cecil nee Peadon, Egerton Burleigh’s mother, is in the very foreground of this photo.

It was only four years later when sadly Edith May Cecil died in a car accident in November 1933 in Waiuku, south of Auckland. Edith is buried in Hillsborough Cemetery in Auckland. Her grave is covered in burnt shells.

The desperately tragic story of the death of Edith May Cecil is told in these three pictures.

Edith's grave

Edith’s grave

Detail of Edith’s headstone

Detail of Edith’s headstone


After the death of his first wife, Egerton lived alone at their house in Epsom. Then in 1944 he married Cassie Carter Dent (nee Natzke), who already had two children – Frank and Evelyn. Cassie was the sister of renowned opera singer Oscar Natzka; a brief biography is planned.

By 1949 Egerton and Cassie had moved to Te Mata near Thames. Egerton was retired but it was not long before they moved back up north to 6 Sidmouth St, Mairangi Bay in Auckland.

Together they lived there until Cassie died in 1962. His granddaughter Ninette remembers visiting him, his ankle always gave him grief and she remembers his limp.

Egerton’s last move was to the Ranfurly Veterans’ Rest Home in Mt Albert, Auckland.

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil died of Myocardial Degeneration on the 28th February 1967.

On his death certificate it says that he was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery. They have no records of this so we don’t know what happened to his ashes, or if indeed he was actually cremated there.


Ranfurly veterans home, Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand

Egerton was a true Anzac soldier. He fought in the Boer War as an Australian soldier and in WW1 as a NZ soldier and in WW2 as an Instructor.


Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 - 1967

Egerton Burleigh Cooper Cecil 1881 – 1967

Egerton’s children

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Burleigh Victor Cecil Tebay (Vic) with his wife, Beatrice

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Melba Doreen (Dolly) Hare

Lil and Joe Sunich

Lil and Joe Sunich

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie

Winnie McNae and Thelma Barnie


‘Aubrey’s Sons’ has been compiled by Wendy Skelley in New Zealand, 2011 (

Thanks to Egerton’s granddaughters Ninette Skelley and Lorraine McNae for some background details and photos, Herbert Rogers for his amazing Boer War details and photos, Barbara Tearle for the ‘A Victorian Mésalliance, or, Goings on at the Manor’ and her inspiration to carry on the story and most of all a big thank you to my life-long partner, Tony Skelley, for enduring the hours while I tippity tapped away.


Frederic Arthur Tearle, 1907, Islington, UK

You can tell that these two pictures of Fred (6m, and 2yr) were taken in London, can’t you? I have left the photographer’s signature, just in case.

Fred, 6 months, London

Fred, 6 months, London

Fred, 2 years, London

Fred, 2 years, London

Dad always used to tell the story that Arthur crashed Baron Rothschild’s best car, and then his second best car, on the same day. The first was when he hit a horse as he was speeding back from Leighton Buzzard railway station, being a bit of a dare-devil for a younger house member, and the second when he backed into a gas standard. He had to pick up My Lord in a horse-drawn carriage and was dismissed for the transgressions. He and Sadie were married in St Barnabus Church, Islington, London in 1904 and Fred was born in Holloway Hospital, London, in 1907. Dad told me that Sadie had got Arthur the job as a mechanic driver with the Rothschilds because she lived there. She worked from aged ten as a maid for the Rothschilds, and for Ella du Cane, the artist and book illustrator. Ella’s family were friends of the Rothschilds in both Ascot and in Mentmore Towers.

Fred and Evelyn Latta married in Invercargill on 22 Dec 1945 “in the residence of Mr R Latta, Moa St, Waikiwi,” says the marriage certificate. Robert Latta was a sawmiller and neither of the witnesses’ names mean anything to me, since they are both Invercargill residents. The family story is that Fred, getting near 40yrs and with no marriage – or even a girlfriend – in sight, put a letter in the lonely hearts column and Evelyn responded. This is the official photo of their wedding.

Fred and Evelyn Latta

Fred and Evelyn Latta

Fred returned to Hastings and took a job as a freezing company worker in the Tomoana Freezing works not far from where he and Evelyn lived in Haumoana. He kept this job until he retired. I don’t know exactly what he did there, but the work can be heavy and physically demanding.

Fred was a volunteer fireman

Fred was a volunteer fireman

There was real tragedy for Fred and Evelyn over the welfare of their girl, Edith, seen here with Fred and her grandmother Sadie. I met her only once, as a teenager, and we went for a walk around the park not far from home. She was a simple girl with limited language, and she lived in a sheltered home. However, she had enough ability to work as a maid in the home, and she earned a little money.

We received a telegram from Fred on 23 Jan 1978 saying that Edith was very sick in Hastings Hospital. On 31 Jan came the awful news that she had died. She was just 31yrs. Fred told us that she had become very depressed and that she had drunk a terrible poison. She must have been in the most horrible agony for all those days between the telegrams.

Edith, Fred and Sadie

Edith, Fred and Sadie


Ewart Frank Tearle 1947, Rotorua, NZ

School Days. Glenholme Primary School, Rotorua. I’m 5th from the right, second row down. Nice school. The principal’s name was Mr Bassett. My friends and I spent an awful lot of time on our knees playing marbles in chalk circles on the asphalt, while other boys played rugby or soccer on the school fields.

School Days. Glenholme Primary School, Rotorua. I’m 5th from the right, second row down. Nice school. The principal’s name was Mr Bassett. My friends and I spent an awful lot of time on our knees playing marbles in chalk circles on the asphalt, while other boys played rugby or soccer on the school fields.

I still know the names of most of the children in the photo above. The principal encouraged gardening, and he showed us how to grow and prune roses.

I hitch-hiked to see Sadie one summer and this was the photo she took of me in her garden in Haumoana. She was so short she fitted under my arm, but she was very nice to me and I went fishing in the mouth of the Tukituki River not far away, whilst she had an afternoon nap.

I hitch-hiked to see Sadie one summer and this was the photo she took of me in her garden in Haumoana. She was so short she fitted under my arm, but she was very nice to me and I went fishing in the mouth of the Tukituki River not far away, whilst she had an afternoon nap.

A boy and his dog. I was too skinny to go sailing and couldn’t hold the yacht upright. I took my dog to obedience classes and he got quite good at it. Dad made the gates in the background.

A boy and his dog. I was too skinny to go sailing and couldn’t hold the yacht upright. I took my dog to obedience classes and he got quite good at it. Dad made the gates in the background.

My 21st. I didn’t know they were planning it and the occasion was quite a surprise. Doesn’t Mum look gorgeous - and young!

My 21st. I didn’t know they were planning it and the occasion was quite a surprise. Doesn’t Mum look gorgeous – and young!

This is the inside of Sadie’s cottage, below, exactly as I remember it when I visited her. The picture above the mantlepiece is of Leonard Adams, a Navy man (a marine) who visited her when his warship the Renown, carrying the Prince of Wales on a voyage around the Colonies, called in at Napier and Wellington and he was allowed some time off to go and see her. He says on his copy of the sailing plan “Napier – Where I left to see Auntie. May 4th 1920.” The radio was made of black bakelite and she listened to the BBC six o’clock news every day, as she had during two world wars. She knitted peggy squares for the New Zealand Red Cross. These were 6-inch squares of knitted wool, which could be multi-coloured, and were made entirely from garter stitch. Someone dropped off the wool she was to knit, and came back in a few weeks to pick up the finished squares. Other volunteers sewed the peggy squares into blankets for the needy. Thousands of New Zealand women knitted them – my mother did from time to time – and the project seemed to have its origins in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Sadie was knitting them both times I visited her, and she told me hers were going to London. She must have made thousands of them.

Sadie's cottage

Sadie’s cottage


Frank Theodore Tearle 1915, Hastings, NZ

Here is the obituary I wrote for my father, who died a few months after Mum:

It is a source of great sadness to me that I should have to speak to you about my father so soon after farewelling my mother.  I had hoped to be able to speak with him and to write to him for some time yet. I shall miss him. There is no-one in the world who has had such an influence on me and on my life as Dad has.

Frank and Sadie 1925 Hastings NZ

Frank and Sadie 1925 Hastings NZ

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” My dad’s life and my dad’s guiding principle in a single sentence. There is only one way of doing something – do it right the first time, do it right every time. It didn’t matter if he was doing a small job on a model motor, or whether he was working on another project on his house, he approached every job with the same serious concentration, meticulous planning and careful execution. I have stood for hours and talked with him while he worked at his lathe and made those beautiful boats and engines for which he is justifiably famous.

I can remember many nights on the porch in Western Heights watching him work his magic on a small piece of metal, a magic I longed to weave, but had no gift for at all. I always felt close to him when I stood there and watched him work.

Frank Tearle at his lathe, Hahei.

Frank Tearle at his lathe, Hahei.

Here in Hahei, Dad made a boat for Jason and we all went down to the little stream at the end of the Hahei beach to watch this delicate little steam engine drive Jason’s new boat and to marvel at the intricacies of the remote control mechanism by which it was steered. Jason absolutely loved it and promptly christened it Genevieve, in honour of his sister. This boat is now a lovely and graceful monument to Dad’s beautiful grandson. One of the very best portraits I have taken is a photo of Dad, in his workshop in Hahei, looking over his lathe at me while he worked. I am proud of it, and he thought it was pretty good, too.

I remember a few things very vividly from my childhood about Dad. The first thing was that he knew everything. There was no subject brought up at the table – and we had dinner as a family every day – that he couldn’t teach us things about. While he wasn’t very educated, he always read very widely and thus he was very knowledgeable. No man I have ever met, then or since, was as knowledgeable as Dad.

He always had a vegetable garden. He could never see any reason for growing flowers, but he had the biggest vege garden that would fit onto any back lawn he was allowed dig up. And he grew the most beautiful vegetables; fat potatoes, huge and perfect carrots, beetroot, parsnips, cabbages, cauliflowers, rhubarb and in Rotorua he had this 15 feet high trellis for the chinese gooseberries, as they were called then, right at the front of the garden. They are called kiwifruit now. He had a thing about the soil in Rotorua being too porous and he wanted lots of organic material in the soil to give it some body and retain the water properly. He dug in people’s old hay and he grew lupines and dug them in, too.

I went with him one afternoon to a fishmonger in Rotorua whose freezers had failed overnight and after Dad had fixed the freezers, the man gave him the contents; some sharks, barracudas, groupers, mostly big fish, which Dad heaved onto the back of the truck. When he got home, he dug some trenches through the garden and dumped these fish into the trenches. For years we dug up fish scales. It took the neighbour fully five years to get to know Dad well enough to ask him the burning question, “What were you trying to grow when you sowed the fish?”

Frank and Peter at Sadie’s 1958.

Frank and Peter at Sadie’s 1958.

Dad wasn’t a big man – I suppose five feet eight – but he always had physical jobs and so kept very fit. You know he built his mother’s house in Haumoana when he was only 15, don’t you? In Hyla Rd. It was originally a shed on a section his mother bought with £100 her brother sent her. Levi Tearle, her father-in-law sent her £80 and with that she dug a well. The house Dad built is still there and the well is still there. He left school and went to work for an apiarist, so he knew a lot about bees and how different honeys are made. Then he went to work for a builder and during World War II he was building houses in Wellington.

He wasn’t allowed into the army because he had had rheumatic fever as a boy and it had left his heart with an irregular beat. He had also had mumps at fifteen and that left him deaf in one ear. He met Mum in Wellington and after they were married he had work as a builder in Whakatane, a farmer in Te Aroha, a refrigeration engineer and a joiner/fitter in Rotorua so he knew his way around wood and metal. That’s well documented – everyone here will know what a lovely job he made of building his own house in Hahei and how talented he was with his lathe – what you may not know is how unbelievably strong he was.

He and Mum used to gather strays and one of them was a lady called Marlene and her boyfriend. Now, he was a weightlifter, bigger than Dad, with muscles on muscles that he liked to display. One day he and Dad replaced the big ends on this chap’s car, filled the motor with oil and tried to start the car. The starter motor did nothing, just growled, so Marlene’s boyfriend took the crank handle and gave the starter motor a hand. Still nothing. I can see him in his singlet, sweating in the warm autumn sun, muscles bulging as he strained to turn the motor over. Still nothing. “I’ll have a go,” said Dad, stepped forward, set his feet, grabbed the crank handle in both hands, and turned it over, just like that. But the motor hadn’t made a sound. Dad pulled the crank out of the hole and we saw that he had made a very tidy 360-degree worm in the middle of the crank handle. “You don’t have to have lots of muscles to be strong, you know,” he murmured to me later.

Frank and Sadie, Haumoana 1967

Frank and Sadie, Haumoana 1967

The third thing that stands out so powerfully about my dad is that he was so generous. He gave so willingly of his time and of his patience and of his considerable talents. He was kind, outgoing and friendly. You know all the work he did here in Hahei for the fire brigade and for his local water supply. You know that he did the work only because it needed to be done; he never asked for recognition and he never asked for pay. He did the work because one day he put his hand up and said, “I can do that,” and he did, not just for that day, but for years and years and years. My dad didn’t do things by halves; if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

When you think of him today, think of his family here in England also grieving for a lost cousin and friend. He was very, very moved when they came to see him and to correspond with him over these past few years. Thelma Shepherd, Sheila Leng, John Wallace, Jenny Pugh, Norah Lowe, Ivor and Iris Adams and lastly Roland Adams, his cousin who sent him his first lathe in about 1930 – the very one he worked his magic on for me, for his model motors and for the people in Hahei. I have spoken to all his English family, many more than just the list above, and each of them wishes to send you their heartfelt greetings and their deepest sympathy.

Frank and Genevieve, NZ 1994

Frank and Genevieve, NZ 1994

Is it too much to say that for all my life Dad has been my hero, the one person I never wanted to let down, the one man I always hoped would be proud of what I do? I shall miss him. I shall miss his presence in the back of my mind as I walk around London and get to know the world so familiar to his parents, composing the letter that I write to him each month about what I have seen and what I have discovered. I shall really, really miss him.

Ewart Tearle

St Albans 2002


Jason Gordon Tearle, 1979, Hamilton, NZ

This little plaque in the Hamilton Lawn Cemetry, Newstead, marks the grave of my own son, Jason Gordon Tearle, born 3 Jan 1979 in Hamilton NZ. He was helping his school raise funds for a tour of England to play cricket. One of the venues was to be Rugby School. He was struck by a car and tragically killed.

Gravestone, Jason Tearle, Hamilton

Gravestone, Jason Tearle, Hamilton

His school, Hamilton Boys High School, commissioned a memorial called the Jason Tearle Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best all-round Year 10 student in the school. To date almost every recipient has gone on to become Head Boy.

Jason Tearle Memorial trophy

Jason Tearle Memorial trophy

While he was actually born in Waikato Hospital, in Hamilton, Jason was a son of the Waitomo District, in the King Country. Here is his memorial on the window of the Millennium building in Te Kuiti, NZ.

Memorial, Te Kuiti

Memorial, Te Kuiti

Jason’s branch is also John 1741.

We met the first of our English relatives in the summer of 1993, when John and Corinne Wallace came to see us with photos and news of Levi and his family. John took this photo of Jason, and taught him a few things about cricket. This visit was the beginning of our association with our English family and was the inspiration for Jason’s desire to go to England on the cricket trip. John’s mother, Sheila, was one of the three women who came to see us late in 1994 and to plant the walnuts from Wing in the story I have told on Thelma’s page.

Jason during John and Corinne's visit

Jason during John and Corinne’s visit

Jason had a very good sporting and academic record. He played soccer and cricket for King Country and was capped for his role in a King Country v Taranaki tournament in Taupo. At HBHS he was in the choir, he was learning the guitar, played soccer and he was, of course, selected for the cricket squad to tour England. He was in the the first five in all of his academic subjects and, as the Headmaster pointed out was “A good kid.” It was because of his all-round excellence that the school determined to remember him with a major school trophy, named in his honour, and given to a boy who has those qualities. She told us that Jason would probably have gone on to be Head Boy, which is why she is not surprised that most of the recipients of the trophy have done so.

The last photo of Jason, 2 weeks before his death

The last photo of Jason, 2 weeks before his death

 Elaine is tending the two seedlings that grew from the Wing walnuts. One of them was planted out on the farm with a service by Rev Fred Day of Te Kuiti, conducted in Latin.

Elaine Tearle and Wing Walnut Tree

Elaine Tearle and Wing Walnut Tree