East Cape 7: More small town ghosts and picking up the family trail
We were on the downhill run now to Gisborne but the car detoured off again, this time to Tokomaru Bay. Originally named for sandflies, there’s a bit more going for it these days – in the East Cape sense at least.
Sorry for the big interruption in this series – work has been relentless the last few weeks.
Driving through the small quiet township, we carried on a few more minutes, over a one lane bridge with an extremely vicious speed hump, and out to the old wharf.
Short on time (not to mention disinclined to navigate around drunk people) we gave a wharf walk a miss and explored the freezing works instead.
Fantastic place. This was it back in the day.
There’s an abundance of history at this end of Tokomaru Bay as just along from the freezing works is The NZ Shipping Company building, former home of the Harbour Board. It’s far from being an abandoned ruin based on the reasonably good exterior and the equipment being stored inside, though the weathertightness leaves a lot to be desired.
Driving back through town, I couldn’t resist a few quick snaps of derelict buildings.
Pointed back toward Gisborne again we stayed on course until half an hour out, where one final deviation was planned. Down this side road we picked up the family trail again, with two more places of interest from Dad’s childhood.
We reached Gisborne where the family gathering part of the weekend began. I’ll cover that next time, but there’s one final part to the heritage trail to round out this post.
On the drive back to Wellington a couple of days later we passed through the blink-and-miss-it settlement of Bartletts where the family moved to in 1954. It was a little bigger back then, certainly big enough to require a postmistress which became Nana’s occupation. Here in Bartletts the last of the 10 children was born.
My grandfather died in 1964 (a young 57, and eight years before my arrival into the world) and within a few months Nana moved into Gisborne along with the last of her children still at home. Eight years after my arrival into the world, she passed away. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of her death.
They are buried together in Gisborne’s Taruheru Cemetery.