You have leapt into the pages of the Journal that details my retrospective tour of New Zealand, made December 2011-January 2012.
I’m fascinated with the exhibits at the Kauri Museum and in on section we are shown various examples of what was like in New Zealand in the early days of white settlement 150 years ago.
Conditions varied considerably depending on socio-economic groupings, trades and locations.
With the Kauri trade specifically in mind, this illustrates how many men lived and worked in the bush, in accommodation that was basic at best, little more than a rudely upgraded camp-site and work was physical and conditions hard.
Sometime the men’s families followed into rural and bush areas, an existence that required the entire family to share the workload of day to day chores: children helped their mothers do the laundry by hand in metal tubs out of doors and accommodation, whilst generally more solid than the bush worker’s set up, also sported only the bare minimum of amenities.
Town and city life afforded many creature comforts by comparison and wealthier families like those of the mill owners lived genteel lives within “society”.
I’m assuming that the style and contents of the inside of the richer homes reflected those that they left behind in Britain, certainly the presence of the Turkey on the Christmas table tells me that they bought their dinner traditions with them even though the seasons didn’t match and they often sat in 30 C (86 F) temperatures to eat heavy roast meals with all the trimmings.
One of my readers will very much appreciate the close up photo I took of the tableware… Lulu (a.k.a. Queen of Table Settings).. that photo was taken especially for you! (p.s. did you see the “mice” on the centrepiece?)
These photos take you from the most basic accommodations to the most lavish, let’s take a look…