Our Stories

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/20 at 03:53 PM

A new book ‘Catlins Bound’ by Mike McPhee, about the sailing ships built in The Catlins during 1860s-70s, with some watercolours by Fergus Sutherland. Pub. 2009 by Catlins Wildlife Ecotours, ISBN 978-0-473-15461-5.

Something completely different is ‘The Ozone: A Shearer’s Yarn’ by Kevin Stevenson, self-published 2009. ISBN 978-0-473-15443-1

I was fascinated to find your website as for many years I have had a small oil painting of a tent in the bush at Catlins, this tent was home tomy forefathers when they arrived in New Zealand, it is a charming painting and inscribed on the back is ‘David Stewart Esq’ ‘With best wishes of the artist JD Mounttray?.  This sketch of our camp in Catlins Bush. 1886. 
I think one of his successors was Downie Stewart - a politician!  Can anyone enlarge on this, please?  I live in Portugal and will be visiting Queenstown next year.  Olivia Cobb née Stewart

Here’s a poem I wrote for the late Anne Brown. Annne was president of the Catlins Historical Society during the planning and construction of the new Owaka Museum. She was very proud to have grown up and attended school at Tawanui, a small Catlins village where her father was the ganger in charge of maintaining the railway line.
It was published in New Zealand Memories Magazine, April 2012.
English song writer Bob Watson added the final verse.

By Mike McPhee & Bob Watson.

There’s a timber train arrived at the Tawanui Station
And we’ve had a month of rain so there’s damage to the line
And the ganger tells the driver ‘bout a problem at the Blunder
And the slip at Caberfeidh is a danger to the line

Now the timber train is standing at the Tawanui Station
And drifts of snow have frozen in the cuttings down the line
And the ganger tells the driver ‘bout some trees at Puketiro
How a gust of wind has dropped them right across the line

Now the timber train is trapped at the Tawanui Station
And the storm has put the creeks up, each one running high
And the ganger tells the driver ‘bout a washout round the corner
How two sections of track are just hanging in the sky

But storms don’t last forever at the Tawanui Station
Next day there’s laughing children racing home from school
They’ve got spelling and an essay and there’s Dad the railway ganger
And “Wasn’t that the best storm since that one we had in June!”

Now things are looking up at the Tawanui Station
A construction train is rumoured to be heading down the line
And there’s railway kids and sawmill kids off to see the damage
And there’s timber wagons waiting at each station down the line

Yes there’s settlers and there’s sawmills in the forest keeping busy
And the timber trains run easy when the weather’s nice and fine
But the drivers and the train crews all depend upon the ganger
When winter lays its hand on the Catlins River Line

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