Marine Department – Fisheries Inspector

The choice of Panmure coincided with the fact that his duties necessitated that he had to have a boat in which to carry out surveillance of the fishing industry including also, and importantly, shellfish cultivation and harvesting. Here was a new opening for a man of imagination, purpose and drive that resulted in research into a variety of matters relative to fish, an enormous area which at this stage was groping for answers. To this end he studied his hobby by acquiring a microscope with which he furthered his knowledge in some written reports by him that have been recorded elsewhere.

C Daniel chara

Used twice in publications “The Shipping Master” & “The Old Salt” caricatures of Captain Daniel about 1918


He was responsible for ascertaining the age of snapper, which abounded in the Hauraki Gulf, by the “time” rings on the scales. In the case of flounder and crab he dissected the brain of the fish, where he discovered a shell-like bone that also displayed the annular ring formation.

As a fisheries officer he decided he had to become conversant with a new method of netting fish in the Hauraki Gulf, which became known as Danish Seine. To this end he joined a fisherman named “Jock” McKay in a converted “plank on edge” keeler called the “Viola” with a 12H.P. petrol engine of doubtful reliability. His reason was to find out how this was done, and the writer as a boy became a member of the crew also.   It was hilarious because the “Viola” had limited hold space for fish and ice was not carried till much later to keep the fish fresh. Captain Daniel and I slept in the eyes of the ship. Jock, or rather Jimmy, slept alongside the engine, so I had to go to my bunk first down through the fore hatch, followed by the Captain whose big frame occupied the little space this forecastle provided once I had myself in my bunk.

As the inspector of fisheries this required him, plus a mate, to patrol the fishing fleets of Auckland and protect the oyster beds from the depredations of those who liked their oysters straight off the rocks and down their gullets. If caught by the Inspectors, these could be costly as a fine of up to 10/- would be imposed on the offender.


The Captain and Jock McKay.


This was only a part of his duties, however, and to assist in these operations he was supplied with a 40 foot launch called the Anzac powered with a 30 or 40 H.P. Doman petrol engine having a fair turn of speed, being a bit narrow gutted, however, and without much protection for the helmsman as she had no canopy over the open cockpit. This matter was rectified later and this improved conditions for those aboard very considerably.

Panmure had been chosen as it was a basin that was an offshoot of the Tamaki River providing good anchorage for the “Anzac” plus an area where boats and gear could be stored, etc. To this end the Captain had obtained a lease over about an acre of ground, that had water frontage onto the Panmure Lagoon and was the ideal place both for his work, and also important tons of room for us kids to move around in, away from the danger of the streets in Eden Terrace.


The ANZAC in the 1920’s – Barney Daniel Collection

The Lagoon as it was commonly called was possibly two to three hundred acres in extent, being tidal, uncovering a vast expanse of mud flats and banks at low water. The outlet to the Tamaki was narrow and the tides ebbing or flowing took quite a bit of stemming in a row boat and careful navigation in a power or sail vessel. This was a wonderful place for children and for that matter adults also, being safe for sailing, bathing, and various other forms of aquatic pastimes. To me of course this was heaven, such a vast playground wherein to try out any idea that came into my head, plunder all around just for the taking, sea battles and invasions, voyages of discovery, shipwreck and castaways, that great delight of all boys, fishing, something that even today holds as much pleasure now as then.

As the land my father now leased had no dwelling upon it, he had acquired for £40 an old four-roomed cottage that had been part of the early settlement of Panmure by the Irish Constabulary. This was situated on the corner of Cleary Road and had to be removed from this site to our section via Cleary Road, firstly up a gentle slope over the brow of the hill and down the opposite side where our land fronted part way on Cleary Road at the bottom.

The great day came for the removal of the cottage, it was the Christmas Holiday period and the Captain had some leave from duty and made a start on this project. Meanwhile he hired from Sam White’s bottle screws and timber Jacks, wire rope, blocks, and a big Kedge Anchor and a couple of long baulks of oregon timber about 12″ x 10″, these being the base of a sledge, as it was by this means, using these as runners, that the house was to be shifted. When these were placed under the house after it had been jacked up high enough, he proceeded to bury the big Kedge Anchor in the ground, rigged the blocks to the house runners and anchor, rove off the wire the fall of the wire going to a set of single trees attached to two great big draught horses belonging to the teamster, Mr Boakes.

Well, those horses plus my old man’s ingenuity with the gear, walked away with that old house, so as soon as the tackle was “two blocks” the anchor was dug up and resited again for another heave. As can be imagined this was great fun to us kids, fancy living in a house like gypsies on the road. It took three days to get that house shifted. First day the house was turned and moved onto the road and made ready for the first small rise up to Duffins Place on the morrow which was accomplished by knock-off time, the horses having performed magnificently and the Captain busy digging that great anchor well down to give the necessary purchase to the blocks. The old brick chimney had been removed leaving a sizeable hole in the floor, and my brother and I took great delight in peeing into this area before returning to bed, the things that amuse children when it’s a question of the unorthodox usually relate to matters of modesty that are taboo under certain conditions but are not noticed in cases such as this.

For the benefit of my readers, there is a sketch plan of the locality as near as I can remember it so that as events happen a quick glance will give some indication of the venue, of necessity the Lagoon has reduced in size to get the rest of the area reasonably well covered.

Panmure map

The Panmure Lagoon and surrounding area – sketch by Barney Daniel


Today it would be hard to recognize the place so much being changed, and now where once were open fields and gardens, the lot is covered over with shops and ticky-tacky houses, cluttered with cars, trucks and people.

Our section is now the site of a vast Olympic-type swimming pool, the Lagoon that was the learning ground for all the local kids swimming efforts is now regarded with disfavour, more’s the pity as the children of today seem subject to much cossetting and supervision that any iniative they may have for self-reliance is smartly crushed out of them.

Our house now resting temporarily on the brow of the hill on Cleary Road awaiting its descent next day, was the subject of much speculation from the few locals and was not hindering any traffic of man or beast because there was none anyway.

Mr Duffin, outside of whose place we were camped, was leaning over his front gate taking in the scene, engaging the Captain in idle chit-chat asked him “What are you going to do with it Captain”, naturally “Big Ears” had to hear the Captain’s reply which was to the effect that he was going to site it on our land, fix it up with a couple of more rooms added, and live in it. “But” said Mr Duffin “You are not a carpenter”. “No” replied the Captain “But I sleep with a carpenter’s daughter”, leaving our Mr Duffin to ponder on that bit of information.

Next morning Mr Boakes arrived with his horses and by nightfall the house was in position on our section. The seeming ease with which all this had been achieved confirmed my belief that sleeping with someone whose father was an expert carpenter must be correct because the Captain was no slouch when it came to using tools of the trade.

The remainder of the Captain’s leave was spent blocking that cottage and making it habitable, which included first a bricklayer to build the chimney and install the stove, my mother cooking meantime on a couple of primus stoves. The chimney was a double unit as the opposite side of the stove was used for a great open fire in what became our living room off the kitchen, and many are the wonderful fires fed with tons of driftwood that gave us years of pleasure and warmth. All the furniture in that living room was hand-made by the Captain, being solid and built for comfort including the squabs which he hand-sewed in canvas, my mother covering them with appropriate material.

It was now time to return to Eden Terrace as the Captain’s leave was up, and every weekend from then on all hands would depart for Panmure laden with food and other stuff for the house, by train from Mt Eden to Newmarket where we changed to one for Ellerslie, the nearest station to Panmure. It is incredible now to think we had a three mile walk from Ellerslie Station to our house at Panmure. This trek was headed by the Captain loaded to the gunwales with his requirements for work on the house, the rest of us being used as pack animals to carry the foader for our sustenance over the weekend, and of course the reverse procedure took place on our return except that we carried nothing back. By the time we reached Panmure we were strung out along the track and the Captain would already be stuck into his job of bashing that house into shape. Jesus, how that man worked and he made us work also, and whenever we sneaked away to investigate our new surroundings a piercing whistle would summon us back with a blunt reprimand to remain handy as our services were necessary to hold or carry something.

In the course of time he built on the extra two rooms complete with a front verandah, a wash house and bathroom detached from the main building, did all the plumbing, drainage, painting, roofing, etc. himself. Our toilet was an affair outside in a corner of the yard complete with a trellis fence to add modesty. It was referred to as the dunny, the Americans picturesquely describe it as a “Privy”, today it’s a “toilet”. It was common for it to be referred to as a lavatory once, but that is not popular now.

Being a seaman of the old school he was extremely versatile, and well I remember the model yacht he built for me one Christmas. It was a tuck stern, plumb bow, example similar to the well-known mullet boat of Auckland, excepting that it had a fixed centre board to which lead had been added in place of the ballast which the mullet boat normally carried inside. It was gaff rigged complete with staysail, mainsail, and jib, all of which could be raised and lowered by the means of blocks and halyards just like a bigger boat would have. To me it was beautiful and must have taken the Captain many hours of spare time to complete, as he made everything by hand including sewing the sails on my mother’s sewing machine.

There was one weekly event which not always did we attend, this depended upon good behaviour remission or the fact that the Captain was home and consequently we went as a family unit. Dad naturally paid the admission fee. Now this was the “pictures” as it was called and held in the local Hall, a pretty rough sort of building, cold and gloomy in winter with hard wooden seats. These films were of course “silents” so appropriate music had to be supplied via a piano. We never thought about the music, but the accompanists of those days must have been geniuses to sit in a cold draughty Hall, bashing out excerpts from all sorts of music to fit the theme of the film. Most of the patrons at these shows were treated to various renditions in various sorts of voices to the printed captions following the action of each film as it progressed.

Weather played an important part in the success of the picture palace and it could get very wet and cold in the winter, folks stuck to the home fires then so I can’t imagine any fortune to be made by the proprietor of such a show. These outings and the church bazaars, etc. were well attended, particularly the latter when the weather was fine, and this was a glorious opportunity for us kids to get involved in the functions specially created for our benefit, as a means of luring no doubt fond Fathers and Mothers to part with some hard-earned cash on some other section of the fair.

Card evenings and church dances were all spontaneous affairs, ladies coming along equipped with a plate of goodies, usually made from their easiest favourite recipes. My Mother at this time became my mentor in the graceful arts and I know now was her unsuspecting escort to many card evenings and small dances, etc. She did not like the dark and became very fearsome when the Captain was away, scrupulously locking and barring windows and doors to keep the “Boogies” out. God knows there was never anything untoward happening in that area, most folks getting away to their beds fairly early, however, I enjoyed these outings as I learnt to waltz, do lots of other old-time dances that were popular in those times, and so it was with many kids who attended these functions, we all became reasonably proficient.

Radio was the embryo from which has sprung that uncontrollable monster of today and well I recall all of us with Mr & Mrs Robertson who owned a car travelling all of four or five miles over to Otahuhu to Mr Joe King’s place to hear this wonderful instrument that was able to pluck messages and music from the ether. It was pretty boring and the Captain expressed considerable doubt that it would ever amount to much. The set in question was a huge oblong box resplendent with lots of knobs and dials and an enormous horn-shaped speaker proudly standing atop the set.

It was an Atwater Super Heterydine set, and old Joe King set out to demonstrate its capabilities with more gusto than results. He traversed the band from one end to the other, emitting in the process squeals, grunts, and an occasional voice from that monstrous horn. It put the Captain off radio for a decade, and I am afraid we children soon got fed up with it, hoping that supper could be served and we could all go home. Secretly, of course, I would have loved to have had that thing all to myself to experiment with, but that was verboten particularly with my well known penchant for messing things up.

To illustrate the first time we had electricity installed in our home, we were having a musical evening one Saturday night with guests all assembled to do honour to the leap from the darkness of Kerosene lamps to a push-button age. There were insufficient globes to replace any that burnt out and it so happened that the one in our sitting-room where the music was produced on our piano by my Mother gave up the ghost. Robbie Robertson, a guest, knew all about these things so took the one from my bedroom to replace that in the sitting- room.

After a fine evening in which we all participated, the guests took their departure, leaving us to get to our beds, Jim and myself of course had no light by which we could see our way into our bedroom and after vainly flicking the switch back and forth, did not know if there was power to the socket or not. Never fear the intrepid Barney would soon find out, but not in the orthodox fashion one would employ today, such as replacing the globe. Oh no, without further ado a .303 cartridge case ordinarily used as a whistle, and in the handiest of all places a boy’s pocket, was promptly inserted in the lamp socket hanging from the ceiling. Shit and consternation – there was blinding flash and all the lights in the house went out.

The Captain’s faith in electricity received a severe blow as he was partly undressed and his knowledge was extremely limited as to what could cause such a happening, that cost a lot money to install, was supposed to be fool-proof and was a singular advancement towards greater living. Naturally, I did not disclose the fact that I of all people was responsible, and to this day how I escaped a bad shock or burn, or even death is incomprehensible to me. I should have been either one of the three, in the full knowledge of the potential danger of this medium that I acquired later. So once again my guardian angel stood by me, cheating the reaper of his victim.

Next day being Sunday, various attempts were made on flicking light switches, to no avail, and the supposition was vouched by Mr Know-it-all, that perhaps the power station had packed it in. Meantime we could see that the few street lights were functioning, so that put paid to my contribution as to why the power authority was not doing its duty by the Daniel household. Came the following day and you have guessed it of course. Mr Know-all had the procedure fully explained to him by his school mates as to what he had done and how to rectify such a dilemma, which he did successfully whilst the Captain watched obviously secretly pleased to have such a brilliant son.

I doubt if any suspicion entered his mind that the same bloke could have been the cause of the trouble, and this was extremely foreign to him, being as always susceptible to a strong possibility that my sticky fingers had something to do with any calamity that could descend upon us. All that happened was a blown fuse which any ten year old today could fix, apart from the thousands of electricity conscious Mothers that could deal with the matter.

The readers of this will by now be prepared to bet that the inclusion of such escapades as robbing an orchard is inevitable. There were quite a few around our area and despite the fact that we had fruit trees ourselves those across the way held more attraction. Peterson’s on the opposite side of the Lagoon presented the greatest hazards being right on the foreshore, easily viewed from their homestead and with very little cover in the approaches to it, so it became an exercise in which a lot of cunning had to be used to gain entry.

Why we had to steal half ripe plums and green apples sounds incomprehensible to my adult mind now, but the temptation of those fruits displaying their beauty was hard to resist, plus the half fear that we could be apprehended with dire consequences brought out the ego and a spirit of bravado without which leaders cannot function. I remember that we were chased from that orchard more times than we ever gained any loot from our forays so I’ll never know what the owners of the fruit, the Petersons, thought of that rascal Barney Daniel, being adult they were wise in the ways of local scallywags who at the age of twelve display a penchant to do the most incomprehensible of deeds without regard to the fact that it could end in failure, and an episode to illustrate was one Saturday morning when brother Jim, Frecka Roberts and self, decided to rob a Chinese garden next door to Peterson’s Orchard.

For sheer stupidity to rob a Chinaman’s garden in broad daylight was bound to end in failure. We had aimlessly, with some guile of course, approached these gardens by way of water, it being just on high tide in our punt. Securing the boat out of sight, we quickly entered the gardens and proceeded to pluck, of all things sticks of rhubarb, carrots and anything else handy, all of which we had in ample supply in our own garden. Well, such depredations could hardly be unobserved by the vigilant market gardeners and shouting and screaming incantations in the best Mandarin Chinese, they descended upon us en masse.

We smartly shoved off from the beach with a boat half full of prize vegetables, to escape from the vengeful Chinese, lending aid to the effort with oars and backs. Alas by this time there were a number of these Asian gents stringing around the edge of the Lagoon successfully cutting off retreat to our section which we misguidely believed would offer safety. The hue and cry had by now of course brought a reluctant Constable Gatwood into the chase and the only means of escape was via the Neck and out into the Tamaki River to some spot where water would halt the pursuers, meantime Frecka was hurling overboard the evidence which naturally floated in the wake of the boat as it was hustled along to a spot in the Neck from where we hoped to elude our enemies by going bush.

We took to our scrapers without thought as to direction, heading for the sanctity of the Church of England grounds, but on reaching this Constable Gatwood nabbed Frecka and I, Jim meantime hiding under some bush. Constable Gatwood, having secured us into lawful custody, had to placate the Chinese gentry by promising dire results for the offenders and sent them on their way, robbed of any chance to split us from head to brisket with those big heavy machete-type knives they had armed themselves with and which were a standard part of the gardening processes. We were now marched off to the Captain who was working in his shed blissfully unaware I think of the problem we had created, and for me very frightened at the prospects of a very well deserved lambasting from the Captain.

Charlie Gatwood soon filled in the events of the morning, which had deprived him of his session in his own garden, to the Captain, suggesting that he deal out the appropriate rewards for our misdemeanours. This the Captain assured Charlie he would do, and when that worthy arm of the law had departed Jim sneaked into the shed. I can see the old man now, lecturing us about the stupid episode, and he must have been in a good mood because a twinkle came into his eye and no doubt he remembered his own boyhood and had told us of some of the escapades he had indulged in, many times in the past, when in a reminiscent mood. So much so that he forgave us and I for one was thankful that I had escaped a licking which I well deserved. The Captain must have been a bit smart because he did not extract any promises to quit robbing gardens or orchards from us, knowing how weak we were.

As can be imagined, by now, we boys had become very proficient at swimming and May my sister also was included in proficiency in a small boat. We had quite a collection and as there was plenty of gear about the place improvising sailing techniques presented little problem. I suppose during holiday breaks from school and in particular the summer period we spent more time in and on the water than we spent upon the land.

After Christmas as a rule all the family, plus Spot the dog and a stray cousin, embarked in the Anzac for some cruising around the Hauraki Gulf. The Anzac was ideal for this and we lived to some degree on the best, fish being plentiful and varied with plenty of fresh vegetables which the Captain had given to him at most spots where we chose to anchor for the night, being well-known to most people around the Gulf, and in return he had fish to give these good folk or perhaps a dogfish or so to bury in their gardens or under a fruit or lemon tree.

The Captain’s assistant usually at this time took his annual leave so we usually spent about three weeks away, the Captain’s duties of patrolling the vast areas of oyster beds kept us on the move so that we covered quite a bit of the Gulf, rarely spending more than one night or perhaps two in the same spot. The temptation to poach oysters, all Government controlled, proved too much for some people, particularly the day tripper.

About this time of the year, of course, there were many day excursions by ferry boat to places like Motutapu, Islington Bay, Browns Island, Motuhie, Motutapu, etc., sometimes up to 2000 people would be disgorged onto these beaches half of whom would be children, as a prime outing for all the family this was hard to beat and cheap into the bargain. The old man had a system worked out for the apprehension of poachers which he leisurely put into effect after lunch, by which time the day trippers had a full belly and time on their hands to sample a couple of dozen oysters.

These forays, of course, were frowned upon by the Marine Dept. and notices to this effect were prominently displayed, adding that a fine of £10 was liable if transgressors were caught in the act. Whenever this happened the sheer size of the Captain was frightening enough to the average poacher so they gave in pretty easily. I think he gave more warnings than summonses as the latter meant a court appearance for him as prosecutor and was a time-wasting device according to him.

The Fisheries Dept., an offshoot of the Marine Dept., had a little ketch called the Te Wai or properly called the Te Waipounamu. In the off-season and around the Christmas period she was “laid up” in Panmure Lagoon, all the running gear and sails stowed away, and she was left to swing at her anchor safe from the vandals and looters of the waterfront, and so she was delivered into my hands.

We had previous to this, of course, been instructed to assist Capt. Charlie to bring her from the Tamaki {she could only pass under the bridge at low water} into the Basin and help him with the job of mooring, etc. Little did the Captain realize that he was playing right into my hand and I must acknowledge that I was not aware of this either, my interest being centred in all that took place in respect to the gear being stowed away, and as a consequence was of invaluable aid to Capt. Charlie and Billy. I was about 14 or 15 years old then and when these two worthy sailormen departed for their holidays I assumed command, not by authority of the Captain let it be said, but purely on my own initiative.   It was no problem to secure a crew, it was the summer vacations and the Lagoon saw most of the local kids practically every day.

It was the custom of the Captain to depart early Monday morning in the Anzac to carry out his official duties and return on Friday evening, and once his orders for the week had been dealt with by us kids {invariably left to the last minute} the week was ours to do damn near what we liked. Well, we played about that ship climbing the rigging till we became expert, dived off the bowsprit, off the cross trees trestle of the main, played at pirates and as was natural I was the master, the captain, with the various subordinates, mates and crew.

It was not long before the desire to have a live ship under my bare feet possessed me and to this end with much heaving and grunting and bad language I exhorted my crew to get sail on her; well all we could manage because of their size and weight was the foresail and the mizen, the foresail was too big and heavy, and in due course on a rising tide we hove in the anchor till it was at the hawser pipe and hoisted the mizzen and staysail.

The wind usually was from the West which blew straight across the Lagoon so all we could do was have the wind on the beam, no fancy stuff, sailing up and down the length of the Lagoon until the tide started to fall and we were without much water under the keel when it was time to let go the anchor. All this took a bit of time of course and it was now the hour of desertion, most of my crew should have been home long since I suspect and like rats on a doomed ship they left. Jim and I then had to get those bloody sails off and stowed and I’ll bet that Capt. Charlie must have had a fit when he had to refit her later because we did not make a very sailor-like stow of that gear, which must have raised his eyebrows somewhat and caused him to ponder at such slovenliness.

Now the sequel to all this was raised the following Sunday morning when the Captain was taking a spell on our front verandah, pipe going well, and gazing speculatively at the Te Wai, squatting in all her glory in the mud of the Lagoon, by commenting that she must have dragged her anchor because she was not in the same place as the previous week. Well, naturally, when I was asked if this seemed to be the case and had it been blowing very hard I had to confess that I hadn’t noticed anything untoward. Had he ever found out what I had been up to I doubt if I could have sat down comfortably for a month.

Daniel Family 2

The Daniel Family – May, Jimmy, Charles, Barney, Ida and a cousin.


Against all this background, of course, the Captain was unconsciously perhaps, furthering my education in maritime subjects by having me involved in trips away as deck boy in the Anzac, and one of these was concerned with acting as tender to the lighthouse system in the Hauraki Gulf. The Anzac on this occasion was loaded up at the Fisheries Depot with stores, mail and sundry odds and sods for Moko Hinau and Cuvier lighthouses. At this stage of her career she had as motive power a Doman petrol engine which to say the least had seen better days, was very temperamental, and regarded with acute suspicion by the Captain. However “needs must when the Devil drives” and in due course the Anzac was headed for Moko Hinau Island to the North of Great Barrier Island. I am not sure but I think we also carried with us some passengers one of whom was a woman with a young baby.

All went well and we arrived there sometime after lunch when all this stuff had to be put ashore by dinghy, hazardous enough as the landing place was subject to the swell. George Migan was assistant to the Captain and it was his job to carry out this manoeuvre whilst the Anzac was kept on station, handy when there was hell to pay because the lighthouse keepers, having glanced through their mail, wanted the Captain to wait whilst they penned hasty replies for something which their mail demanded or required. I can see the old man ranting and raving about so and so lighthouse keepers who cared not that he still had Cuvier light to do and time was running out. Finally we got away to repeat the process at Cuvier, leaving there just before dark by which time the wind had freshened from S.W. which meant a head slog from the Cape.

By the time we rounded Cape Colville it was strong to gale and the only shelter was at Ponui Island south of Waiheke Island, all this time the Captain was at the tiller easing her into the sharp steep seas, it was dark and very rough and that bloody Doman didn’t appreciate the conditions either as it used to falter and cough and splutter and George had to nurse it along as best he could. My dog Spot, a Fox Terrior, got in the Captain’s road and got the boot.

Meantime the Captain’s calves, by which method he controlled the tiller, were becoming red and raw as he peered over the top of the dodger watching each sea as it made its onslaught to our gyrating vessel. Between 2am and 3am in the morning we finally made North Harbour on Ponui Island, dropped the anchor and were able to put the coffee on and have a much needed snack. The dog became the next problem and we hunted about to see if he was still with us, but to no avail, and the Captain who was really very fond of him, because he was a dog that took to the sailor’s life as though born to it, said “Well it looks like he has been washed overboard”.

Some hours later after a good sleep George got breakfast under way and afterwards the Captain with pipe going satisfactorily began to talk, not about our rough passage of last night but the loss of our dog, when, his name being used, we heard a faint drumming on the floor boards in the after end of the cockpit, and on investigating whence this noise emanated from, there was my beloved animal recovering from his fit of the sulks, obviously gratified by our tone of condolence, condescending to join the circle of welcome and receive the petting he considered his due. Spot was the only dog I ever had and I doubt if I could ever get one better, he died of old age, was champion fighting dog of Panmure and I suspect father to a large proportion of the population of the village, and living in a town is no place for a dog, it’s not their element.

I’ve forgotten now other trips that I made with the Captain but I learnt to respect the sea for what it could do to you, never was I seasick, at times I was apprehensive, but put my faith in the Captain’s ability and understanding of the elements with which he had such a vast experience.

My old man now had the problem of getting me off his back and hoisted into the commercial world so that I wouldn’t end up just a hewer of wood and carrier of water. He had big ideas for the heir, so he chose architecture as my future, having as already mentioned, scotched all ideas of mine for a maritime career, and whilst he scouted around for an opening in this field, I was enrolled in Dilworth College to cram on subjects I had already failed at Grammar School.

It became obvious to the old man that having a son as an architect wasn’t going to be very profitable because all the firms that he tried wanted a fee of £50 or so before they would consider a lad, and the wages weren’t much more than 5/- per week, meantime I was making some progress with draughting at Dilworth but the maths part left me cold.

Up till now, I was still a financial burden on the Captain and times were tough, a mild recession being in season, and through Mr Horrie Hewson of John Burns I got a start with Rope Construction Company.

Barney Wedding Pic

Barney and Tiny wedding day


Side Note – At this stage Barney had moved away from home for work, and married Tiny Turner.

My brother Jim was to be married in Auckland and I was best man. Tiny got all my gear made up for this trip and it was kept at her home across the Bay. I was to catch the Thursday night ferry from Nelson then Friday night train to Auckland, to be in time for the wedding on Saturday afternoon.

The express to Auckland used to stop at Panmure Station where the folks were still living and after quitting the train there, I was home by 7am in the morning. It had been six months since I had seen them and my mother naturally was pleased to have her first born back in the fold.

The wedding was a great success and held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Khyber Pass where my parents had spliced the knot, we had all been christened and gone to church and Sunday school as kids, danced in its hall as youths. Pop in loud tones, intended as a whisper to my mother, remarked “It’s twenty five bloody years since I’ve been in here, it’s a wonder the bloody roof doesn’t cave in”, lots of other people heard him. Mum was very upset and wouldn’t speak to the Captain for the rest of the “do”.

James Daniel Wedding

Jimmy’s wedding, Barney and May on left.


Of course the Captain and I had gone to town on Saturday morning and we both got pretty full on brown bottled beer. The Captain rarely drank but when he did his capacity was tremendous, he oozed bonhomie and good cheer. He used to say that he had drunk enough in his time as a young fellow to last my brother and I the rest of our lives. That was a misstatement if ever there was one as he was of most sober habit, Christmas Eve the only time I ever saw him in liquor was his one day of the year to let his hair down.

He suffered next day with a pretty hefty hangover, it was diplomatic to keep clear of him. As a result of our little spree, on the Saturday morning when it came time to report home and get geared up for the ceremony at 4 o’clock he said he would get a taxi to take us home. Well he got the cab okay, forgot about me still in the pub and buggered off.

As a consequence I was late and held the wedding up for twenty minutes, nevertheless it all went off pretty well except that when Jim and Nora his bride got to their house, Jim had lost the key to the door and had to break into the place. Well what would you do under the circumstances at midnight.

May Daniel Wedding

May’s wedding.


Regrettably Ida, in later years, when all of her brood had long since left the nest she became very bossy and made up ground in respect to any humiliation she may have suffered at the hands of the Captain in her earlier life with him, by giving him a bit of a dog’s life.

Daniel Family outside house

The Daniel Family outside 17 Aberfoyle Street, Mt Eden.