Volume 1

Memories of Tapu and Charlotte (Bob) Lawlor

Malcolm Boles

Charlotte had a little cottage up the Tapu creek on the Tapu-Coroglen Rd. There were several baches on this flat strip of land before the hills closed in, and Bob's little cottage was the last one before the hill hit the road. There was a spare section between Bob and the Chandler beach home.

Bob and 'Grannie' (Gussie Lawlor, Bob’s mother) would spend time at the Dodd house on the beach when it was not in use; eventually a small 'wing' was added on the north side of the house for more permanent accommodation, probably in 1935-38. I looked for the cottage many years ago now but all was changed. I well remember as a young boy staying at the batch and in the evenings after dinner we would go to the Chandler house, and round the big table in the kitchen Puppa (Dodd) and Daisy, and the Dodd uncles and aunts and the Chandler 'step uncles and aunts would spend the evening playing Rummy. I would curl up in a barrel-chair, with probably a piggy-back to bed in the wee hours.

Bob outside the front of the cottage

I don’t know where the photo of Bob was taken, looking at the fence it appears in new and good condition and constructed with wires close together at the bottom for sheep control.

Bob Lawlor

I recall the history told to me, where Jack Dodd would climb up the hill behind the TNM house to where the 'water reservoir' is situated and 'sound/play his trumpet'. I believe that my cousin Bob Dodd has the instrument.

Malcolm - 'up the creek' 'blowing the trumpet'

Note the old tent. This was between the batch and the road, there was only hill behind the bach. Eventually this tent ended up in a corner of the section and with a corrugated iron chimney at one end, and a camp bed. It was occupied by 'some old man'. However the man and the tent disappeared overnight - when the tent caught on fire!.

The swimming hole up the road and round the next corner - note the rock.

In about 1928/32 Gundlock ran a coast bus to Tapu

Temporary Bridge at Tapu

I recall that the early bridge crossing the Tapu Creek was washed away in a storm. From memory this was the temporary crossing until a 'high' bridge was built. The ruins of the old structure were great for fishing for eels.

The old traction engine on the Coroglen road

Tapu Flat

I recall playing on the Tapu flat when they had a sawmill running and this old traction engine drove the saws. Water was run along wooden troughs to carry the sawdust away to where-ever and the men used some of it in a smokehouse for fish.

In those days, and particularly after a storm, I would collect kauri gum off the beach (lighter than water so it was always on the high water line), and firms in Auckland would buy it to incorporate in the varnish applications of that time.

Up the Tapu Creek, from many of the quartz rocks I would knock off what looked like lumps of 'gold' and take it back home and say to Mum and/or Dad we are rich (we were very poor in those days) only to be told that this was "fools gold". I do recall my step-aunt Ruth Chandler gave me a fishing rod as a Christmas present. It was three pieces of bamboo, the one slotting in to the other, with line and hook but no reel. However this was MAGIC. Can't remember catching anything!

I remember one summer that we had a storm and Bob Chandler had his canoe at the 'top' of Tapu beach and a storm blew it out to the gulf and it was lost!!! Which reminds me..... The gulf is very dangerous. When there is an offshore wind the sea appears so calm that the un-initiated are easily fooled. There have been a number of fatalities with people and boats swept out to sea.


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