Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Social Life in Courtenay

I found two articles about the social life in Courtenay, Canterbury, New Zealand.  They also prove how closely connected Mrs Potts, Mrs Anderton and Mrs Lord were (see other blog posts on them).  The three ladies live in the Courtenay area, two of them on farms and Mrs Potts in a house in Courtenay while her husband worked on the Waimakariri River as a civil engineer.

The first article has Mrs Lord and Mrs Anderton involved in duets and is from the Press dated 20-10-1877

"I.O.G.T., Courtenay—The Providence Lodge celebrated its second anniversary on Thursday, 18th inst., by a very successful tea and public entertainment. The new Orange Hall was crowded to excess to hear a choice selection of songs, glees, and duets performed by Mesdames Pearce, Lord, Anderton, and Tetley, and Messrs Trickett, Pearce, Potts, and Coward with Mrs Hunson as pianist. The chair was ably filled by Mr W. Trumble, S.D.G.W.C.T. The lodge deputy, Mr W. Bashford, gave a short report of the Lodge, by which it appeared that twenty-three members had been added during the last three months. Mr H. Bennetts, G.W.C, gave an address upon temperance, and the audienco separated at a somewhat late hour."

The sisters Mary Ann Lord (nee Spencer) and Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer) must have been fairly good at singing to be entertaining a hall "crowded to excess."

The second article is from the Press dated 05-11-1885 and is also about the Providence Lodge, this time the 10 year anniversary.  Again Mrs Lord and Mrs Anderton performed duets.

"I.O.G.T., Providence Lodge, No. 103, Courtenay. —'lhe tenth anniversary of the above lodge was celebrated by a tea and concert on Friday, October 30th. The attendance, considering the favorable state of the weather, was rather small, but the Committee, through judicious management, were able to meet all expenses and leave a small credit balance. The tea was provided by Mr Batestone, of Kirwee, and the tables presided over by the Sisters of the lodge. The concert was opened by the members of the different lodges singing the opening Templar, ode, "Come friends and brethren, all unite;"  The chair was occupied by the L.D. Bro. G.T. Robertson. Although the musical part of the entertainment was all that could be desired, a want was felt in the absence of temperance speakers. The vocal part of the entertainment was contributed as follows:—Solos, Sister McNae and Miss A. McNae, Bro. White, Mr Pole and Mr G. T. White; duets, Mrs Lord and Mrs Anderton; readings, Mr Anson and Mr Pole. Mrs Anson presided at the piano, kindly lent by Mrs Brett. An address was delivered by the Rev H. B. Burnett, who, at the conclusion of the meeting, asked the members of the institution present for their assistance in making arrangements for a visit from Mr Matthew Burnett, who is giving lectures in the various centres throughout the colony. Bro. Jenkins replied that members would be happy to assist him in the work. After the customary votes of thanks had been passed, the meeting was. brought to a close by singing the National Anthem." 

In the Press dated 06-01-1890 there was an article about the Halkett and Courtenay Sunday Schools which sounds absolutely wonderful.  Dancing on the lawn in front of The Desert homestead (originally connected to the Desert Run), amazing food from country ladies of the district and the sounds of children laughing and playing.  I wish I had been there!  Twenty five year old Edwin Lord (listed as E. Lord), who was the son of Jabez and Mary Ann Lord, was mentioned, as well as Mrs Anderton.

"Courtenay.-—The annual treat in connection with the Halkett and Courtenay Sunday Schools was held on Friday afternoon, in the grounds adjoining The Desert (the homestead ot Mr H. Feutz). During the early part of the afternoon the children amused themselves by playing games. At five o'clock they formed a procession and marched, with the Sunday School banner in the van, to the lawn fronting the house, where they vers regaled with a repast provided by the ladies of the district. After tea Mr T. H. Anson, assisted by the Superintendents (Messrs W. Jenkins and E. Lord) of the two schools, distributed the prizes to the successful scholars.  Hearty cheers were then given for the teachers, Mr and Mrs Feutz, Mr Anson and the ladies.. Dancing on the lawn was indulged in with spirit for some time after which the visitors dispersed. Mesdames Feutz, Brett, Anderton, Davis,  Jenkins, Roper, Cox, Messrs Anson, Jenkins, Lord, and others assisting, are to be congratulated on having brought about one of the most enjoyable outings ever held in the district. The pleasures of the day were very largely added to by the hospitality of Mr and Mrs Feutz, which was accorded to all present." 

12_Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer)

Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer)

The best article of all is entitled "A Holiday at Courtenay" and was in the Press dated 27-11-1877.  It is a very long article which talks about the trip in the train to Kirwee and then drive to the Courtenay district.  It explains the buildings there in 1877, and the sports day which included stalls, refreshments and lots of running races and other sports.  Many local people are named including Mrs Lord on the refreshments stall and Mrs Anderton and Mrs Potts on the other stalls.  Three ladies who knew each other well in the district. It sounds a lot of fun and just shows what a wonderful community they had there all those years ago.

A holiday in the country is to a man about town as refreshing as an oasis in the desert is to an Asiatic traveller, and demoralised indeed must be he who cannot spend a few hours happily amongst pastoral paddocks, picturesque hedge-rows, and singing skylarks, far away from that compromise between town and country which men call Christchurch. Times there are when one is apt, unreasonably perhaps, to think the attractions of Hagley Park, the gardens, and the Museum dull and hackneyed, beer-drinking an occupation which is stale and flat, and basking in the suave smiles of barmaids sadly unprofitable to the basker; and there are times when even the aesthetic glories of Cathedral square fail to charm. At such times when Cassius is aweary of the world, it will be well and wise for him to flee to the country for mental recuperation. Fresh air and a change of scene are your best physicians. For myself, I am an observer of the golden mean in all things, a staid, steady youth of puritanical principles and practice, and to mc such changes are never matters of necessity. Still it was with pleasure that I complied with a request to attend the annual sports at Courtenay on Friday, the 23rd inst., although the compliance entailed an early rise in the morning, a folly to which I have an hereditary dislike. When I reach the old railway station, at twenty minutes past six—ten minutes before the time of starting—the scene did not remind me of the terminus at Euston square, London, for a very good reason —I have never been there. The gathering crowds of people philosophical aspects, and the railway buildings looked their best in the genial sunlight—extremely commonplace. A start made, our company gave way to that sociability so characteristic of English speaking people, and the conversation, like the speed we were going at, became fast and furious. At least three remarks were made within the first half hour. One of these was quite poetical. A gentleman said—"Rain must come soon, or there'll be sorrow all round the heart of the country is panting for it." He is an auctioneer, and therefore by trade a dealer in poetic diction. An irreverent writer recently expressed some sneers at the speed of trains on the Canterbury railways. He must have strange notions of rapid travelling. On Friday morning the train went from Christchurch to Kirwee, a distance of twenty-one miles, in an hour and three-quarters— a rate which could scarcely be beaten by the oldest stock horse in the province. Besides, this pace enables passengers to amuse themselves by counting the sheep and poultry at the farms near the line as they pass along, a pleasure which railway travellers in other parts of the world are debarred from enjoying. But some people are never satisfied.
It had been raining for about a quarter of an hour before we reached Kirwee, and this circumstance, though it must have been consoling to the settlers, did not tend to enliven the appearance of the town. Kirwee is not noted for its crowded streets, neither was Christchurch thirty years ago. Half an hour's drive from Kirwee brings us to Courtenay, which consists of a schoolhouse, with teacher's residence attached, one cottage, a public library, a new building called the Orange Hall, a stockyard, and a cowshed. The country around consists of rich level lands, mostly laid down in grass, and browsed by sleek well-developed cattle and longwoolled sheep. Here and there the fields are embellished with rows and clumps of blue gums and other trees, but there is no native timber about. We are told that shearing is going on in the neighborhood, that Mr Holmes, of Bangor, is nearly finished, that Colonel Brett, of Kirwee, has just begun, and that Mr Tosswill, of Highfield, will begin in; a day or two.  The district is evidently not densely populous, the holdings being mostly large, but it is unmistakeably prosperous. Notwithstanding the rainfall there are a good many people hovering about the village, and the Orange Hall is the scene of considerable activity. Entering that august building, we find it tolerably well filled with ladies who are superintending the erection and decoration of stalls and the placing of refreshment tables. The reply given to the inevitable question is that the ladies of the neighborhood are getting up a bazaar for the purpose of raising funds to build a parsonage. They think it would not be unwise to hold it on the same day as the annual sports of the district. A church, situated some distance from the village, they already possess, and they thought that if they once had a parsonage erected they would be able to support a clergyman. Expecting to receive £250 from the Church Property Trust, and knowing that it will take £400 to build a parsonage, the object of the residents is to raise what they can of the balance by means of the bazaar. The stalls are not numerous—three only—but they are tastefully got up and are well supplied with articles useful and ornamental, and they are patronised in a manner which is gratifying to the holders. All the people who come to attend and witness the sports pay for their luncheon at the tables presided over by Mrs Robertson, Mrs Lord, and Mrs Bashford. The fancy goods' stall, kept by Mrs Tosswill and Mrs Hopkins, would do credit to any city bazaar. The other stalls are in charge of Mrs Goole, Mrs Anderton and Mrs Davies, Mrs Ansen, Mrs Potts, and Mrs Foster respectively. Throughout the day a good business is done, and in the evening the balance of the articles are sold by Mr Hawkes, of Christchurch.
About noon the rain clears off, and a beginning is made with the annual sports. Mr P. H. Ansen is president; Mr S. W. Tosswill, secretary. The committee are, inclusive of the two gentlemen just named, Messrs A. McNae, H. McNae, Kemp, E. Templar, and D. McBeath; judge, Mr E. C. Maxwell; starter, Mr H. V. Ansen.
The first event was a race for boys under sixteen; distance, 440 yards. There were three entries. Little Arthur Tosswill made the running very warm for Alf White, a boy nearly five years older than he, White winning by about two feet. For the running long leap there were three entries, but the tug of war lay between A. McBeath and J. Kemp, the former of whom won with a leap of 17ft 3in, Kemp clearing 16ft 9 1/2in. There were four competitors in the standing high jump, and so close was the contest between S. Simpson and R. Frame —both of whom cleared 4ft 1in that they tossed for first place, Frame winning the toss. There were five entries for the hop, step, and jump. A. McBeath won the first prize, with 35ft 7in; R. Frame second, with 34ft. 6in. Four entered as contestants in putting the stone, R. Frame winning the first prize with a pitch of 30ft 8in, A. McBeath second, distance 28ft 8in. The footrace for adults, 440 yards, was an exciting events, but the strife lay between F. Holland and J. Smyth, A. McBeath being nowhere. Holland won in 63 1/2sec, with Smyth running hard a length, or two behind him. S. W. Tosswill, H. McNae, and R. Frame entered for throwing the sledge hammer. Frame won first prize with a distance of 77ft; McNae second, distance 69ft 8in. The 100 yards open handicap caused much interest amongst the spectators. Five started; H. G. Tosswill, placed two yards from scratch, took the lead and kept it throughout, winning the first prize, a handsome silver cup, presented by Mr Sandstein, jeweller, Cashel street, Christ church; J. Kemp won second place. For the running high jump, for boys under sixteen, there were three entries, A. Tosswill, A. White, and R. Manson. The first, a lad of eleven, leapt very pluckily, but the others were too much for him. Manson won with a jump of 3ft. 7 1/2in. White took second place. The two miles walking race was by far the most interesting contest of the day. There were three entries, A. McNae, H. G. Tosswill, and J. Sawle. From the outset there was little apparent chance of either of the other two taking the first prize out of McNae's hands but towards the end a keen struggle took place between Tosswill and Sawle for second honors. Both walked well. At one time it looked as though both broke into a trot; but Tosswill came in second by several lengths. After the walk both complained of being jostled by each other. Sawle lodged a protest, which was allowed, and the committee awarded him second prize. Four entered for the half-mile race, for boys under eighteen years. After a spirited contest D. McBeath won the first, and B. Revelley the second prize. The running high jump was keenly contested, the top height cleared being 4ft. 10in. F. Holland and A. McBeath were so closely matched that instead of "holding out to tire each other down," they agreed to divide the prize money between them. For the one mile race, open to all, four started, J. Smith coming in first in the first lap, S. Simpson second. This order was kept up throughout except for a brief space, when A. McNae passed Simpson, but the race finished with Smith first, Simpson second. Time, 5min. 35secs. The 440 yards three-legged race created much amusement. Three pairs entered, H. McNae and A. McBeath, H. G. Tosswill and S. W. Tosswill, J. Kemp and A. McNae. The Tosswills took the lead at the offset and kept it throughout, winning easily, McBeath and H. McNae being second, Kemp and his partner conspicuously in the rearward. The 220 yards handicap called five competitors to the fore. S. Simpson with a start of five yards, and A. Robinson ditto, came in respectively first and second. The half-mile race (open) was won by S. W. Tosswill, J. Smith second. In the "three hops," J. Sawle won the first prize, the second was won by S. W. Tosswill. There were four entries for the married men's race, 220 yards. H. McClelland carried off the first, W. Simpson the second prize. The first prize for the race over eight flights of hurdles was won by F. Holland, the second by J. Simpson. The prizes were distributed in the evening by Mrs T. Anson, wife of the president. All those valued at less than £1 consisted of money, those valued at, and more than that, of handsome silver cups. Of these last were the 100 yards handicap, the mile race, the 220 yards handicap, and the two-miles walking race, the running high jump, the hurdle race, and the three-legged race.
In conclusion, it may be remarked that the sports were tolerably successful considering the size of the district. A little more method in the arrangements, which should be left to the management of a small committee, would be a tangible advantage; but the drawback alluded to is one which time and experience will remedy.

No comments:

Post a Comment