SCOTS
CMSW

Document 1677

Interview with Rev. John G. Sinclair for Scottish Readers Remember Project

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): SAPPHIRE, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

F1189 It's the eighteenth of February, two thousand and nine, and I'm in Dunedin in Otago in New Zealand. Erm, and with me is the Reverend John Sinclair, who's agreed to talk with me today about his life and er his reading experiences across his lifetime. Can I thank you very much, first of all, Reverend, for agreeing to do that. We're actually in your church, which is a very historic church, and Dunedin First Church. Erm and we'll hear a bit about that, I imagine, as we go along. But could you tell me first of all, erm, when you were born and where you were born?
M1194 I was born in Dunedin. My parents both come from Orkney.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Er, they were married in Dunedin. And er that would be in nineteen, I was born in nineteen thirty-three. //[?]I think.[/?]//
F1189 //Mmhm, mmhm.// Right, in Dunedin then? And yet, I do detect that your voice is very, well it has a Scottish intonation. //Mm.//
M1194 //Yes.// If I came home from school as a small boy and said "I saw a brown cow down the road", I was told "That's not the way English is spoken."
F1189 Mm. So did your parents both come from Orkney then? //Right.//
M1194 //Yes, mother,// er on both sides of her family, from the island of Westray.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 My father was born in Kirkwall, but his people really came from Caithness.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 My mother tended to look down on my father, because he was er an incomer, //though she was born in Dumbarton,//
F1189 //Right, [laugh].// //Mmhm.//
M1194 //because her father's ship.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and he was a er ship's master, //er was at//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 Dumbarton at the time //[inaudible], yes.//
F1189 //Mmhm, right.// Uh-huh, so that's quite an interesting background then, //and a bit of moving around.//
M1194 //Yes.// //Yes.//
F1189 //Now you've said your// parents married here in Dunedin. Did they meet here in Dunedin?
M1194 They met in Orkney,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er where my mother's parents had retired. They had er been farming in Australia at one part of it.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 But he retired as commodore of the Australian Commonwealth Line in nineteen twenty-four,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and built a house er in Saint Ola, overlooking Scapa Flow. Er, he was a very stern man, her father, who, as an old sailing ship captain, had no time for marine engineers and regarded them as the scum of the earth. And my father, being a marine engineer, he wouldn't meet him or have him in the house or anything. And eventually, my father er got work in New Zealand with the Union Steam Ship //Company, of New Zealand.//
F1189 //Mm, mm.//
M1194 And he sent a cable over to my mother, would she come out to New Zealand and marry him. So, er she was in a perplexing //situation, she//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 discussed it with her mother, and s- and mother said, "Well, you can't keep the man waiting, you'll have to give him some reply." So she sent back a cable in reply, simply in the language of the time, "Sure thing, kid."
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 And came out to New Zealand, and was married here in Dunedin.
F1189 She was quite brave then.
M1194 Ah, yes. //but then,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 she had been round the world a couple of times //beforehand,//
F1189 //Mm.// Mm.
M1194 with her father in the sailing ship, twice around Cape //Horn in the sailing ship.//
F1189 //Mm.// So you think she caught the bug then //for [inaudible]? [laugh]//
M1194 //Ah, no, it wasn't a bug, er.// //[laugh] She would have been happy to have stayed in Orkney.//
F1189 //[laugh]// Really?
M1194 Yes.
F1189 And did she ever settle here then?
M1194 Ah yes.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 She went home again after forty years //for a holiday and enjoyed that greatly.//
F1189 //Mm mm.// Mmhm?
M1194 Yes.
F1189 And what about your father, did he ever go //back?//
M1194 //He never got back.//
F1189 Mm.
M1194 He was left an orphan at the age of six.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And really had to make his own way //in life, and er//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 He wanted to be an artist but he had to become an engineer in order to make a living.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And first went to sea, erm as a junior engineer on the old Port Lincoln during the Great War, //carting troops and munitions across the Channel.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// What decided him on New Zealand? Was it the job, or the place, //or a combination?//
M1194 //Er, the place.// He was sailing with the Union Company between here and Calcutta,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and first sailed up Otago Harbour early one Sunday morning when the place was just magic, and decided that if ever the opportunity offered to settle ashore, he would try and make it Dunedin, so //that's how it came about.//
F1189 //Mm, mmhm.// So, well the picturesqueness obviously appealed to him, and the size of the harbour, it's very impressive, but would it have been the Scottishness of the place too that might have appealed?
M1194 He met quite a lot of Scottish people
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1194 //here in Dunedin,// and they became firm friends,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 so that they were married at the house of some of these //friends.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 In fact when my mother came out, erm, she came by train from Welling- er from Lyttelton //to Dunedin,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 and father had er about six or eight people stationed along the length of the platform, //so that//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 when she got off the train knowing nobody, there would be people looking for her.
F1189 Mmhm. //And they, were they Scottish people?//
M1194 //[?]And some[/?].// //For the most part, yes, yeah.//
F1189 //Or New Zealanders? Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 That strong Scottishness in Dunedin has diminished, markedly, //since then, yes.//
F1189 //Mm, yes.// //I I've heard that's so.//
M1194 //Mm.//
F1189 Now, did you have brothers and sisters?
M1194 A younger sister and a younger brother.
F1189 Mm, so you're the oldest //child?//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 And I know how that feels, so am I. //[laugh]//
M1194 //[Uh-huh], yes, yes.//
F1189 Now, can you recall, your house, was it in the centre of Dunedin, by the way, or or near the port?
M1194 Well, er, before I was born, er my mother was living with a family in Mornington.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 She had a single room.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And those people took over the lease of what was called Cargill's Castle.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And ran that place as erm, er, oh, cabaret.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And mother went with them, and had a room in the tower of Cargill's //Castle.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 And before I was born, she moved down from the top of the hill at St Clair,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 down to er a larger flat,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 er right on the coast
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm, mmhm.//
M1194 //the sea, beach, there.// So we lived there for a while. Father was still at sea,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and only home //two or three weekends a year.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Then we lived nearer the centre of town for a while. Later, out in Andersons Bay, //a seaside//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 suburb.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 That was the first time my father had lived in er a colonial house,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 er, it had, erm, it was a nineteen-twenties bungalow,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 but the walls were lined with timber //and scrim, and the newspaper on top of the scrim.//
F1189 //Mmhm, mm. Mmhm.//
M1194 But the the scrim was loose on the walls, and he reckoned that when the wind blew, it pushed the bed out into the middle of the room.
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 From there we went to a house in Every Street, //er er a lovely brick house.//
F1189 //Mm. Mm.//
M1194 At that time my father was a shift en-, or an engineer at the Dunedin public hospital.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And during the War, about nineteen forty-one, we shifted to Timaru,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 where he went to recommission the old Timaru harbour dredge,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 which was required to deepen the harbour //for all the shipping in wartime.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 And we lived in Timaru for about six or seven years, and came back to Dunedin, nineteen forty-nine, fifty.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Nineteen fifty.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And they remained here for the rest of their lives, //yeah.//
F1189 //Mm.// So, where are your formative memories then, your first memories?
M1194 The earliest memories are of a house in Manor Place, the second home, er, I have no recollection of living at St Clair //when we were there.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 The main memories would be in Andersons Bay
F1189 Mm. //Was this the colonial house?//
M1194 //where I started school.// //Yes, er, a large school.//
F1189 //Mm, mm.//
M1194 About a third of the children came from two large orphanages //that were in that same district, yes.//
F1189 //Mm, ah, right. Mmhm, mmhm.// Now those children in the orphanages, had they come from overseas? //Mmhm, mmhm.//
M1194 //No, no, they would all be New Zealanders, yeah, yeah.//
F1189 In your house in Andersons Bay then, erm, can you recall books?
M1194 Ah, books, er, you're wanting to get round to the books that I most remember.
F1189 Yeah.
M1194 Erm.
F1189 Ah, now you've made a list! That's always //helpful.//
M1194 //One of the// ones I particularly remember, er, was a book on Leonardo //da Vinci,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 published by Whitcombe and Tombs, now that was a New Zealand publishing //firm that//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 specialised in books for children,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 some of which were used in //school,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 er, others you you bought, and that was quite significant.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Erm, my father erm had got together a library of, that included a set of Dickens,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and er "A Child's History of England", by Dickens
F1189 Mm.
M1194 was quite important. Erm, he also subscribed to er a thing that came out every week, er, "Shipping Wonders of the World".
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And er, that was significant
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in our understanding of er the background of both parents.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //er being sea-farers as they were on both sides.// And he also had erm a keen interest in art, and had a thick book of the world's greatest paintings,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 which er we were thoroughly erm acquainted with.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Er, the book was so designed that you came to the title of the picture and then you turned that page over and there was the picture and we had to learn who the artist was //and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 what the picture was before the page was turned over, so we were well acquainted with erm er the best of art in that way.
F1189 Would that be European art? //European art?//
M1194 //My?//
F1189 The pictures, //would they be//
M1194 //Yes, yes.// //That's right. Old Masters, that's right, yeah, that's right, yes.//
F1189 //the Old Masters, that kind of thing? Mmhm.//
M1194 Erm, about nineteen forty-one we shifted to Timaru
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and lived just a block away from the public //library.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 And that was a very good thing, erm, there I found Arthur Ransome, //and read all his books.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 And there, also, erm, in that library I first became acquainted with New Zealand //writings.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 Erm, and the chief one was a book that I, er, a thick book which I read about five times, a biography of Julius Von Haast, by his son,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Heinrich Ferdinand //Von Haast.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 And that er has been very influential on my er reading.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Er von Haast was a- an Austrian geologist who came to New Zealand, and did a lot of exploration work in, mainly in the South Island.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And lived in Christchurch and took an active part in community life, and it really opened my eyes to er many things.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And er it's still a book that I go back to.
F1189 Do you own it now? //Mm.//
M1194 //Oh, I own it now, yes. I've owned it for a long time.//
F1189 So what did it open your eyes to?
M1194 An awareness of the New Zealand environment,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 the geology,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 erm, literature,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 er, er, yeah, that mainly. //Er, and//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 cultured living.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Mm.
F1189 So so this book, because I'm not familiar with it, is it, it's like a a sort of almanac of New Zealand then, //er?//
M1194 //It's quite// strictly a biography of this man
F1189 Oh right.
M1194 and his interests, //yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //Ah right, I understand now, mmhm, mmhm.// Now erm, did your parents bring any books with them //when they came here?//
M1194 //No.// Except engineering er textbooks, //so almost,//
F1189 //Mm, mmhm.//
M1194 er, one of which is quite important, which I still read.
F1189 Mmhm. //Oh right, uh-huh?//
M1194 //Yes, yeah.//
F1189 I just wondered if they had because it's sometimes er particular books that people bring when they migrate, for example,
M1194 Er, my mother brought her father's book, er, Bef- called "Before the Mast in Sailing Ships".
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 John Mason.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 He had written I think three other //books//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 that I haven't ever been able to track down, //you know,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 University might help me in that, //matter. [laugh]//
F1189 //Oh they might! [laugh]//
M1194 They were things like erm, er "A Young Mate's Companion to Seamanship", //or something like that.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// //What it, you, yeah.//
M1194 //Er, I would like to know just what it was like, but nobody has ever discovered it.//
F1189 It'll be out there somewhere, I'm sure. //[laugh] Now,//
M1194 //I'm sure Glasgow should be able to come to light with it.//
F1189 were your parents readers then? //Mm//
M1194 //Yes,// //yes.//
F1189 //mm.//
M1194 But erm, library books
F1189 Mm.
M1194 were the mainstay, mainly for financial //reasons.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 Er a weekly trip to the library on a Friday night was a pattern of life
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1194 for years.
F1189 Mmhm. Now was that the library in Timaru or can you remember using the one here in //Dunedin?//
M1194 //Ah, mm.// The one here in Dunedin we didn't use so much,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 because it meant quite a long trip to get to //it, and erm,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 But in Timaru and in Dunedin again when we came back //to Dunedin,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //er that would be the pattern, yes.//
F1189 Now, you would have been what age when you moved to Timaru then?
M1194 Erm, form one at school, that would be probably ten. //Yes.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// So the right age for Ar- Arthur Ransome then?
M1194 Ah yes, yes, yes, that quite appealed. Mm.
F1189 Can you remember any other story books from before that time, that you maybe were given as gifts, or Sunday school prizes //dare I say? [laugh]//
M1194 //Oh, yes there was one that,// "Coppernob Buckland", I think it was called, but I never read it. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// Was that a Sunday school prize? //[laugh]//
M1194 //It was, it was, it was, er// a sea story of some //sort but//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mm.//
M1194 //novels of the sea have never appealed over much.//
F1189 Right, uh-huh.
M1194 And novels don't feature much in my reading taste.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 I've read a few but not many.
F1189 Mm. Ah well then it will be interesting to see what what you have read of that then. So you didn't really own any books, or a lot of books as a small child then?
M1194 We had this basic library which I suppose would account for about two, four, six metres //of shelf space, yes.//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.// //That's quite a bit, mm.//
M1194 //It's quite a bit.//
F1189 Now, you mentioned the book about Leonardo,
M1194 Yes.
F1189 erm and that you were, that was significant for you. //Why was that?//
M1194 //Yes.// It opened my eyes to the work of an artist
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and the work of an architect,
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 and the difficulties they faced.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 And that was intriguing for you then? //Mmhm, mmhm, mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, it was interesting, yes.//
F1189 Now the other book you mentioned, erm, with the the colour plates of Old Masters,
M1194 Yes.
F1189 were you encouraged to read that? Or to look at it?
M1194 Erm, we went to the public art gallery //about//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 once every two months, //which was a long trek on a Sunday afternoon,//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1194 by tram and on foot //for several miles.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 And in between times our interest in that was fostered by er father sitting in the chair and us sitting on //the arm of the chair and having to guess what was coming, you know?//
F1189 //Mm mm.// So was that a fun thing for you to do?
M1194 That was an interesting thing, //yes.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Looking back on it now, do you think it was a good thing for you?
M1194 Oh yes.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And in part it reflected my father's interest //in art and antiques,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 and his concern that we should appreciate those sort of things, //yes.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Did he ever encourage you to read anything at all about where he'd come from? //And your mother had come from?//
M1194 //No.// We had a book called "Orkney, the Magnetic North",
F1189 Mm.
M1194 by I think a man named Gunn.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Er, and that book was on our shelves,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and we became familiar with it //over the years but//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 he never spoke about his erm family //background,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 and to this day, I don't know much about it.
F1189 Really? Mm.
M1194 His father died of TB when he was quite young,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and his mother, I've just recently discovered was left, erm, had to make her way in life as a charwoman, and she married a man Shepherd,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and went to live in Canada, and went out of my father's //life.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 And erm er he was brought up by his mother's mother,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in Kirkwall,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 in pretty impoverished circumstances. He had to go to school with no shoes and all that //sort of thing,//
F1189 //Mm.// //He did rather well for himself then, really.//
M1194 //in winter.// Well I think he did.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 I think he did very well.
F1189 And he made his home here then, would you say?
M1194 Yes.
F1189 And your mother too? //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, here in Dunedin.//
F1189 Now, did newspapers come into your house, as a child?
M1194 Erm, the Orcadian,
F1189 Ah.
M1194 er from time to //time,//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
M1194 and my birth was recorded in the Orcadian but not in the Otago Daily //Times,//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Now that's interesting, yeah, uh-huh.//
M1194 //which is probably significant.// Er, we've always had the daily //paper.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 Erm, I can remember my mother reading it on the floor of our living room er at the time the Japanese were invading China,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and they were shooting patients in the Shanghai //hospital.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 And I, er that sort of stuck in my mind quite vividly. I've since tracked down er the events of that time, and find my memory is not at fault. That's that's what was happening.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 That would be in the late thirties.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 But we've always taken the newspaper and read it, //avidly.//
F1189 //It was, it was the local newspaper?//
M1194 Yes, Dunedin, yes.
F1189 Where would your parents have got the Orcadian from then?
M1194 It came out by mail,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and I still get it,
F1189 [inaudible]
M1194 in monthly //bundles from a lady in Methven in mid Canterbury.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// Uh-huh. So someone was sending that then to your parents? //Or was it ordered?//
M1194 //Yeah, on occasion. It wasn't regular.//
F1189 Right.
M1194 Just ones that they thought might interest her, mm.
F1189 Now were you ever intrigued and erm sought to read about y- your parents' heritage in any way?
M1194 Ah, well, we had my grandf-, mother's father's obituary,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er which was interesting, as a sea //captain and er that was in the Orcadian//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mm.//
M1194 //again,// and also the obituaries of some of the other relations, //my mother's uncles and what not,//
F1189 //Mm mm mm.//
M1194 who had all been sea-farers //for the most part and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 erm involved in the First World War. My fa-, grandfather was naval vice consul in Havana, //in Cuba,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 during the the Great War.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 That's where he ended up. Erm, so we did pick up something of the heritage //there but//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 that generation in New Zealand, my father and mother, didn't tend to talk a great deal
F1189 Mm.
M1194 about heritage as heritage.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 So they they didn't join any of the Scottish societies that were around Otago at that time?
M1194 No. There was actually an Orkney and Shetland society, but //they never belonged to it.//
F1189 //Mm. Mm.//
M1194 Erm, for one thing a sea-farer tends not to put down roots //in a community,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 and erm this meant that er they didn't join much.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Er, school, or anything //like that, school committees, that type of thing.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Erm, so, and my father only joined one thing and that was the Friends of the Otago Museum.
F1189 Right.
M1194 He- he was interested in //that type of thing.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// //Yes, it seems, it seems so.//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 Now, what kind of education did you have here then, Reverend, in //Dunedin?//
M1194 //In Timaru,// I was at a very good primary school //for two years.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1194 And there er we learned a good appreciation of //poetry and what not,//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1194 at that level. And then I was four years at Timaru Boys' High School,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and that was a very good school, //and again,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 er we were introduced to many things but I do remember erm as well as New Zealand poetry coming to the fore at that stage, er we had to do a project on a New Zealand author.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And for some reason or other I lighted on the name of a man called Herries Beattie,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 who specialised in local history, //erm,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 particularly Maori history and the early exploration of er Otago and Southland,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and er runholding and all that //sort of thing.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 And those things have been a dominant interest //and remain so till this day.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Erm, just yesterday we were away in Central Otago tracking down one of the old coach //roads that seems to have been forgotten.//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 And all this sort of thing I can trace back to erm [taps microphone] this man Herries //Beattie and his//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm.//
M1194 //numerous publications, yeah.//
F1189 Now what was the balance then, in your education, particularly in your secondary education, between that kind of literature
M1194 Yes.
F1189 written about New Zealand by New Zealanders,
M1194 Yeah.
F1189 and English literature from the canon.
M1194 Ah well, er we had to struggle with Shakespeare and I don't think when you're young and haven't much experience in life that adult poetry necessarily
F1189 Mm.
M1194 rings very true, you can memorise it,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 but the worth of the memorising only becomes er important
F1189 Mm.
M1194 as you've experienced //more life.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 So erm, that would be my answer to that //question. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// I think that's a, you weren't that impressed by it [laugh] //at the time. [laugh]//
M1194 //No.// //And when I got to university, I was even less impressed by the way academic English people, English literature people analysed things and read what I'm sure was never intended to be read out of things.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mm mm.// Now what about Scottish literature, because //that seems//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 to have been part of the education system here too.
M1194 Er, well that was secondary school, now secondary school also er introduced me to history.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 See, I set out in high school with the intention of becoming a civil engineer,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and I didn't grasp mathematics
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in any significant way. So my bent then turned to what they call social //studies, history and geography.//
F1189 //Mm mm mm.//
M1194 And that's where I found er I was much more at home.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 So that that was, became the balance of things,
F1189 Right. //Mm.//
M1194 //with French,// as well, //which I appreciated more than English literature.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Really? [laugh]//
M1194 //[laugh]// [inaudible]
F1189 So didn't have any erm of the Scottish canon in your literature
M1194 No.
F1189 studies then. I'm thinking of Robert Burns of course, //erm//
M1194 //No, no no no no.//
F1189 Walter Scott?
M1194 No, you must remember that erm to some Scots people,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Robert Burns is just a dirty old man.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 And my- that was my mother's view of him.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 And not that she was a purist or a puritan //or whatever you might call it, but//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 that was her impression. //Father never bothered about him at all.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm, mmhm.// And you didn't get any of it at school then?
M1194 Nothing that's s- has has sunk in //in any way.//
F1189 //[laugh] Right.//
M1194 Yes.
F1189 And what about the likes of the novels of Walter Scott? They were very popular on the school curriculum in the UK. //Uh-huh. Mm.//
M1194 //"Tales of a Grandfather",// //yes,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 but that only.
F1189 That's all. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes.// And that I picked up in a
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 small booklet, yeah. But that actually triggered //a lifelong interest in Scottish history.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm// Right, so what types of books then did you read about, erm if you go back to your beginnings of of the interest in Scottish history? What sort of things got you interested? //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //Well "Tales of a Grandfather", yes, mm.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 The Orkney background didn't ever become real until much //later in life. Yes.//
F1189 //Mm, mmhm mmhm.// Erm, and the kind of things you'd get to read about Scottish history, would they be given to you at school, or was that //part of your own, just//
M1194 //Ah, that didn't come into any// erm school //curriculum until,//
F1189 //Right, mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 as far as I know.
F1189 So what was the history you got at school then?
M1194 Oh, [exhale], English history,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er the Reform Movement, er [exhale] Blank!
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Like er, it was interesting but it's it's left me
F1189 Mm mmhm. //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //as to what the detail was now, yeah.//
F1189 Well i- it couldn't have put you off //anyway. [laugh] Uh-huh.//
M1194 //No, it didn't put me off.// Erm, secondary school history when I came to Dunedin, for my last year at //school, secondary school,//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 at Otago Boys' High School, we had a very good history master, a man who had written books.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And there were only six in the history class.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And we had individual tuition from this
F1189 Mm.
M1194 excellent man, McClymont was his name. English, or Macaulay's "History of England",
F1189 Mm.
M1194 especially the eighteenth century,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 that became an important //thing.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 And then, there was European history //in the eighteenth century as well.//
F1189 //Mmhm. Mmhm.//
M1194 That became important
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 when I, you want me to get into University?
F1189 Yes, wha- what age were you when you left school?
M1194 I'd be seventeen //when I left.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// And did you go straight //to University?//
M1194 //Yes,//
F1189 Mmhm. //And which University was that?//
M1194 //I did.// //Otago, of course.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.//
M1194 It was the first University in New Zealand, //yes.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// Had you no desire to go anywhere else, were you happy to stay? //Mm mm.//
M1194 //Well it wasn't even a possibility.// My father had actually taken a lower paid job, //to be able to shift from Timaru back to Dunedin,//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 so that the three of us would have the opportunity of a university //education, because he'd had no opportunities.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm. Mm.//
M1194 [cough] So he made all these sacrifices
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 in order that these opportunities should be open to //us.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Who would you say then was the biggest influence on your reading taste then as a child and as an adolescent?
M1194 My father, probably.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 Er, he had engaged in a correspondence course with Wolsey Hall and Oxford. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 And his notes, //in connection with that//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 erm I had for many years. That would be an indication that he valued education,
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 and was determined that we shouldn't waste our opportunities.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes.// So that would be the way I'd answer that question.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. Now that kind of erm respect for education and er a keenness to have an education and to carry on //learning//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 was often thought of as very stereotypically a Scottish attribute.
M1194 Oh of course you're not wrong.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 This province was founded by the Lay Association //of the Free Church of Scotland and//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 their prime emphasis was on good //education,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 proper, proper provision
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //for the church,// and erm the development of an ordered community //life,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1194 //with good industry and commerce and farming and what not.// And the proof of that I think you'll find in the fact that within twenty years of stepping ashore on the mud at the bottom of this hill here they had established sixty-eight
F1189 Mm.
M1194 primary schools right into the back corner of the province,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 erm they'd established a boys' high school,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 modelled on the Edinburgh High School,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 even the building looked about the same as the old one. //And [inaudible]//
F1189 //What that the Otago// Boys' High? //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //no-, that was the Otago Boys' High.// And then a girls' //high school,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 one of the first in the British Commonwealth.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And within twenty years they had appointed the first four professors for the University,
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 and got the University up and running.
F1189 Did you feel yourself in any way a part of that that heritage?
M1194 Er, well it's in line with
F1189 Mm.
M1194 my father's standards.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 My mother never had the opportunity to have much in the way of education, because she was brought up in Australia //where her father//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 erm wanted to be a farmer,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and combined it with sea-faring.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 So her education was in a small school in Gippsland.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 She was the Dux,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 but she was the only one in the class.
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 Nevertheless when she got back to Scotland at the beginning of the First World War, she found a job in the Clydesdale //Bank in Glasgow, one of the first//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 women to work in the bank,
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //so she was no fool.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And it was she who had a a good knowledge of poetry
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //and literature,// and could bring out quotations to suit
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 on occasion, yeah.
F1189 Do you recall any of the poetry and literature that she was interested in, //that maybe made an impression on you?//
M1194 //Oh.// [laugh] I can't recall the context of them, //it was just odd phrases, you know?//
F1189 //Mm, mm. Mm.//
M1194 "Dead, dead and never called me mother."
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 Er, "it's a better thing that I do now than I have ever done before", Sydney Carton //in//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Er, "Tale of Two Cities", mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Ta-, Tale, "The Tale of Two Cities", that's right, yeah.// //That sort of thing rolled off her tongue.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Er.
F1189 Did you ever read any of the Dickens, by the way, that were on your family's bookshelves?
M1194 No, the print was small. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1194 And it didn't appeal, and Charles Dickens never appeals to, has never appealed to me greatly. //I've read some of them, but//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 er, yeah.
F1189 Mmhm. //And before we move on to your university//
M1194 //[throat]//
F1189 career, can I just ask you about er "Swallows and Amazons", and if there's anything else you can remember about the kind of recreational reading that you did? //Out of the library.//
M1194 //[tut]// I can't recall.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 No.
F1189 That one though, obviously, must have //[inaudible]//
M1194 //Oh that triggered it, because erm// at that stage we were living right by the waterfront //in Timaru and yachts and things were all, all around the place and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1194 er I still have a yacht //in a//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 place just over the hill at Doctors Point, yes.
F1189 So was that what appealed then, the the adventure
M1194 Ah, well //my father used to be the starter for the Kirkwall yacht club, so//
F1189 //The sea-faring, uh-huh uh-huh.// Mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 The thing about erm the Ransome stories is they are very very English.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Erm, would that //[laugh]//
M1194 //I'm not prejudiced against the English. [laugh]// //But I'm more at home with Scots.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh. [laugh]// //Are you? [laugh] Mmhm.//
M1194 //[inaudible]. Yes, yes, yes.//
F1189 But it didn't stop you, you didn't feel in any way alienated from them, because they are //a particular type of English?//
M1194 //Erm,// our next door neighbours in Andersons Bay were Quakers from Yorkshire.
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 And we slowly came to grips with //er//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 a Yorkshire attitude to life. //I won't say any more than that.//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1194 We also had people from Ulster near at //hand, and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 er and became well and truly acquainted with their attitudes to life too. //Yes.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Yo-, Dunedin anyway is very very cosmopolitan. //Yeah, uh-huh.//
M1194 //It is now.// It was more homogeneous fifty years ago
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and more.
F1189 Homogeneous in what way?
M1194 In the sense that er there weren't many Maoris,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 not many Chinese,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 there were some Jewish people.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Er, but after the last war, there's been an influx of people from the Pacific Islands,
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //the Maoris have come south in large numbers,// the Chinese component in the population is more dominant, the Lebanese one is more dominant.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Erm, it's a quite different society //now.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 If you go down our main street you might see as many non-Europeans
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 as you would Europeans.
F1189 Indeed, uh-huh.
M1194 Yeah.
F1189 So you mean hom- homogeneous er British //across the board, mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yes, yeah.//
F1189 Now, did you get much history about erm the Maoris //then at school?//
M1194 //Ah yes, that was// well and truly covered at school.
F1189 Was it? //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes.// Well and truly.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And if people researched properly they would discover that that was the case from an early //stage, yes.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// Did that make any impression on on you at the time?
M1194 Oh we grew up familiar with stories about Te Rauparaha and Hongi Heke and that sort of thing, yes.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Again, Whitcombe and Tombs published a series of books called "Our Nation's Story". And that included British history, Maori //history,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 mm and contemporary New Zealand history. //It was quite good.//
F1189 //Really? Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 It's spurned by the purists these days, //but it was actually//
F1189 //Mmhm. Mmhm.//
M1194 a well-rounded historical background, I thought.
F1189 Mm and was that a a school textbook //or was that, it was, right, mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yes. Mmhm.//
F1189 Okay, well you went to University here, you went to study engineering, //and it didn't work out, is that correct?//
M1194 //I, no, I// gave up engineering at high school.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Er and I began University er with the intention of becoming a secondary school teacher, //so I did//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 English, history,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 geography, economics, philosophy,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 that group of subjects,
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 and then later on, erm I decided er I could go into the ministry and then I had to wrestle with Greek and Hebrew,
F1189 [laugh] //Mmhm. Mmhm.//
M1194 //er and that wrestle I I never really won.//
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 No.
F1189 So so that was two degrees then you did, did you do //one after the other?//
M1194 //I did// er an Arts degree,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 specialising in History and Geography,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and then part of a BD,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and a diploma in Theology.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 Now that's a lot of reading. You must have //done over quite a long time in education.//
M1194 //Yes.// I was eight years //round the University, and enjoyed every minute of it.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 You never thought of an academic career then?
M1194 I I wasn't that clever.
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 I enjoyed life too much.
F1189 Uh-huh. //Now,//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 were your parents a member of of this church? //The First Church?//
M1194 //No, they// My mother used to go to church. //My father was never a member of any church.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm.// Really?
M1194 Yeah. But his Scottish education had given him a knowledge of the shorter catechism,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and he could tell you what man's chief end was and,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 yes, but that was learned in day school.
F1189 Mm, did you have a copy of that catechism?
M1194 Oh we were given it at Sunday school.
F1189 Mmhm uh-huh uh-huh. Have you no happy memories of Sunday school prizes, Reverend?
M1194 I didn't er specialise in Sunday school, //or Bible class, no.//
F1189 //[laugh]// So what decided you then on a a career in the ministry?
M1194 Well, when I started University, the student Christian movement was a very lively
F1189 Mm. //Mm.//
M1194 //group of people,// and er before the University year began, or as it began er some of the older members of the SCN
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er used to visit
F1189 Mm.
M1194 freshers and invite them to go on a a hike //up//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mm.//
M1194 //Signal Hill and round about and back again,// er, I found that not uncongenial,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and gradually became involved and closely involved //with the Student Christian Movement, and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 it was through that
F1189 Mm.
M1194 that I became a member of the church, //and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 eventually a theological student, //or divinity student I would prefer to be called really yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm. Yeah, uh-huh uh-huh.// //Erm, er that's very Scottish.//
M1194 //Mm.// //That's right, that's right, yeah.//
F1189 //[laugh]// Erm, was there anything at all that you read at that time that particularly impressed you and and and made you turn towards that kind of //ambition?//
M1194 //Not, no particular book.//
F1189 Mm.
M1194 But er there was a small study book, er just a
F1189 Mm.
M1194 slender thing
F1189 Mm.
M1194 by erm a Dunedin man, J.M. Bates, called "Foundation Truths", and that was just a series of //studies.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And that er appealed to me and made me think.
F1189 Mmhm mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //together with the people that I was mixing with,//
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 rather than a book.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Er . Yeah, that that would be true to say, it was some study books and the community //in which I//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 found myself, more than something literary. //Mm.//
F1189 //Mm.// Was that community ecumenical then? //or, it was? Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, very much so.// Presbyterians, High Anglicans, //Quakers.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 The Catholics had their own group in those days.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And there was also er a more conservative Christian group, called the Evangelical Union,
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Er.// so I had the benefit of a fairly liberal ecumenical
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 group of people.
F1189 You must have made a decision somehow about, er //Presbyterianism then?//
M1194 //Erm,// oh yes, I could have become an Anglican without any //trouble.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 But I decided that Presbyterianism w-w- would be the one that I would opt for //eventually, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Now, is there any particular reason for that, that would have to do with your background or //theological//
M1194 //Ah, it's//
F1189 choice that you //made purely? Mm.//
M1194 //Yes, I I thought so.// //Yes, I've nothing against the Anglicans but I thought the other was more soundly based.//
F1189 //Mm uh-huh.// Right, uh-huh.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Uh-huh. I just wondered if it was somehow more familiar to you, because this is a //Scottish church. Mmhm mm mm.//
M1194 //Oh well I'd had, I had some background in it.// Instead of going to Bible class, I struck a bargain with my mother that I would go to church instead, because you didn't have to answer questions like //that, you see?//
F1189 //Ah right, uh-huh.// //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //And I// actually cottoned on to a lot of things through good preaching of //the day.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //I see, so so that would be quite, you would be quite young then, when you//
M1194 //Yes.// //Well, say sixteen.//
F1189 //started coming to church?// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yeah.//
F1189 That's an impressionable age. //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yeah.//
F1189 And it was this church you came to?
M1194 No no, no no, we were living up in Morning-, in, well we went to Roslyn //Church at that da-, that time, yeah.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //I had been going to church in Timaru as well, but erm// //Yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Now was your father quite happy about that career choice?
M1194 Oh he always wanted me to be er a doctor.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 But there was a murder in the hospital, //one of the house surgeons murdered another,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //[laugh]//
M1194 //and that put him off.// //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1194 Never heard anything more about medicine after that. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Well I suppose it's only the vicar, isn't it, in Agatha Christie novels, who// //[laugh] [inaudible] the murder.//
M1194 //That's right, that's right, that's right, yeah.//
F1189 Now did you have time, you must have done an awful lot of reading, of serious reading, over your your eight years of study. Is there anything that stands out from that, particularly //for you?//
M1194 //Erm,// //Of the University part?//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 There would be some, er, without going into course //details and that sort of thing.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 Er, the writings of Bonhoeffer,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and Kierkegaard,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and Carl Jung
F1189 Mm.
M1194 would stand out.
F1189 Mmhm. Now they're quite radical thinkers. //Yeah, uh-huh.//
M1194 //Well that's right.// But er I've also developed
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 a taste in biography and that //sort of thing.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 Erm, Alexander Whyte,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 of Free St Georges. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Jupiter Carlyle.// Er, J.S. Blackie,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Hugh Miller. //The or-, the mason,//
F1189 //That rings a bell, uh-huh.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //the stone mason who became a geologist, and// intimately tied up with the Disruption.
F1189 Yes, that's, must be why it rings a bell, mmhm. //[laugh]//
M1194 //[laugh]// Er, those //people I've//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 read and //reread,//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.// Mmhm.
M1194 and enjoyed. Erm, but
F1189 Now the whole history of the Disruption, I have always found quite difficult to read, myself. //It's complicated.//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 Erm,
M1194 Yes, it is not //straightforward.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// Is there anything that made it clearer for you, that you ever read, erm?
M1194 Well, I really only tackled the Disruption seriously when I came here, //and//
F1189 //Right, uh-huh.//
M1194 er when I retired I I came here //for a Sunday or two and the minister asked me//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1194 would I like to help out preaching on occasions, //and erm//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 maybe visiting sick and elderly //people,//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //no more than four hours a week.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //I thought, oh that's alright, I can manage that.// But then not long afterwards he said, "We're doing up this place as a //heritage centre, will you look after that?"//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1194 And that really meant I had to come to grips with the Disruption, and //everything going before and after that.//
F1189 //[inaudible] uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 So it was that that made me really consider, I knew about it before then.
F1189 Mm. //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //You can't study Church History and not,// //but it wasn't to the fore of my//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //understanding of things,// not at all.
F1189 Now that's interesting, really, but erm, //so it came afterwards for you.//
M1194 //Er, on the other hand, er Martin Luther,//
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1194 and his, the book on him, "Here I Stand", I can't remember the title of the author now, it's, but it was a thick book, and
F1189 Mm.
M1194 that appealed to me,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 as well as a smaller book on Luther, that was important.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And one or two other books on Scottish history, prior to the Disruption.
F1189 Right, mmhm. Can you recall what they were?
M1194 Offhand I can't. //Erm,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 I've often wondered what they were! //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// It's, it's not easy, because I take it you don't own any of these books, you must have borrowed //them from the University library.//
M1194 //Ah, yes, well you see,// living in Knox College
F1189 Mm.
M1194 for four years,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er there was a very good library there,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 open to us day and night.
F1189 Now where is Knox College?
M1194 Er up in Opoho, //here in Dunedin, it's a//
F1189 //Uh-huh mm mmhm.//
M1194 college that was set up a hundred //years ago this year,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 to house students of all faculties
F1189 Mm.
M1194 so that Divinity students would rub //shoulders with everybody else in there.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 That was the pattern of life. //We had//
F1189 //Right, mmhm.//
M1194 the privilege of being able to live //there.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //And did you live//
M1194 //Never.//
F1189 there or did you stay at home?
M1194 I lived in for four years.
F1189 You did. Mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And there was a very good library there, //the best of everything was there, so it was all on hand.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Right.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Did you carry on using the public library at all?
M1194 Not at that time, //except to borrow records.//
F1189 //Mm.// //Ah right, so what kind of records?//
M1194 //[laugh] [cough]// Albert Schweitzer, playing the organ,
F1189 Uh-huh uh-huh.
M1194 mainly.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1194 We didn't have, we only had basic
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //amplifier things in in our study in those days,// housed in an apple box or something like that.
F1189 [exhale]
M1194 Yes, we were quite poverty //stricken.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Really? Mm. Now, you're not a man for fiction?
M1194 No, I've read a few novels, just.
F1189 Uh-huh. And what would they be?
M1194 Oh, //"Nineteen Eighty-Four" and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 Franz Kafka,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Our professor of Church History, who was a refugee from Germany, in nineteen //thirty-eight and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 he gave a course each year erm in literature, he would //take one//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 piece of literature like a novel of Franz //Kafka's//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 or Dostoyevsky, and lecture on it //through the winter,//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 and the students from the medical school would sneak in to be part of these lectures.
F1189 Ah. //They were popular then?//
M1194 //Miss their own.// //Yes, they were very very good.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 And er that opened
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 our minds to the whole realm of //existentialism,//
F1189 //Mm mm mmhm.//
M1194 which was very useful.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 It really was.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 So we had to read novels. //Yes.//
F1189 //Right, uh-huh.// //Er and so you read those ones, which you've described, uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 //Dostoyevsky, Kafka,// //Chekhov, oh,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 things that were of some //substance, yes.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// So, were you ever inclined to read the likes of Sartre then, if you were interested in //existentialism?//
M1194 //I've looked at it, but I've never// //er never felt inclined.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 On the other hand, Sartre's thinking,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er I've dabbled a bit in that //type of thing, yes.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// When you say "dabbled", would that be reading things about Sartre? //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, probably, yes.// //Yes.//
F1189 //Erm,// so you go into the library and pick up your records and just bypass all these novels? //[laugh]//
M1194 //I have to confess that.// Yes.
F1189 Uh-huh. You're never tempted, for something a bit lighter?
M1194 Ah, there was enough to read
F1189 Mm.
M1194 of ordinary study, //you know?//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Set books and all that sort of thing, yes.//
F1189 Did you carry on reading the newspaper then, once you'd moved out of //home?//
M1194 //Into the college?// //Yes,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 first thing in the morning, //before anybody messed it up.//
F1189 //Uh-huh.// Ah right, so it was supplied for you?
M1194 Yes, that's right.
F1189 And which newspaper would that be?
M1194 The Otago Daily Times, //yes, yes.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Have you never wavered from that, across your life?
M1194 Oh there's not much choice. //I mean it's not Britain, don't forget.//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 Do you think, would you like more choice?
M1194 Not if it's like some of the other ones that are floating around,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 all out of one publishing house.
F1189 Mmhm mm.
M1194 The Otago Daily Times is an independently owned //thing and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1194 Yes. //Quite quite quite superior. [laugh]//
F1189 //Yeah, it's not a bad newspaper really, uh-huh, yes.// But it is quite local. //Would you say that's, yes, mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //That's deliberate, it's deliberate,// //because//
F1189 //So what about [inaudible]?//
M1194 the- they publish once a week,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er a a supplement //on//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 er affairs outside of New Zealand,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 which puts all the other newspapers in New Zealand in the shade.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Yeah.
F1189 Yes, I'v seen that. It is //quite good, yeah, uh-huh.//
M1194 //Yeah.//
F1189 Where would you get then world news on a daily or a weekly basis, other than that?
M1194 Now?
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Well, the local community station //broadcasts//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 BBC
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 World Service from eleven at night until six in the morning.
F1189 Mmhm. //Right. [laugh]//
M1194 //[laugh]// So that by the time six in the morning comes
F1189 Mm.
M1194 I've heard already what the news is //going to be.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// So it's by other media then that //that you, that you,//
M1194 //Yes, yes.// //And we watch BBC Television.//
F1189 //get it. Mm mmhm mmhm uh-huh uh-huh.// Do you ever use erm, your computer, which I see there, //to access news or, no?//
M1194 //Oh, I've n-, I've no great love of computers.// //No no, no.//
F1189 //[exhale]// You never took to them?
M1194 No no, mind you I've never had any instruction on using them. I've just worn them out. //[laugh]//
F1189 //Right.// Erm cause s-, I've spoken to other people here who will consult erm other newspapers, you know, //world newspapers,//
M1194 //Oh yes, yes yes.//
F1189 online.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Not necessarily just //British ones. Mm.//
M1194 //We get the Spectator,// every week,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 from the book bus.
F1189 Right. //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //And the Country Life//
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1194 magazine, and the Scots whatever is it, erm, Scottish Field.
F1189 Right? Do you read them?
M1194 And I buy the Scots Magazine.
F1189 Do you?
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Now why is that, what, what's appealing about the Scots Magazine?
M1194 Er, it's got a variety of things.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And I don't always er read all of it,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 but it's a useful library to have,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 they're not too big, and they're //easily accommodated.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// Uh-huh.
M1194 If you were to see my study, all the walls right up to the //ceiling are lined with books, even across the windows.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //[laugh]//
M1194 //[exhale]// //And, and that's only a a a little part of the garage that's been cut off, you see?//
F1189 //Well I've missed that, unfortunately, mmhm mm mmhm.//
M1194 And then there's another bookcase in the living room, which is full of New Zealand history.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And there's another bookcase just inside the front door which has all the big books,
F1189 Right, uh-huh.
M1194 like the Provincial Gazette. //from the er//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //eighteen sixties and that sort of thing.// //Er.//
F1189 //Now, The Spectator// has a particular political bent. //Uh-huh, mmhm.//
M1194 //Oh yes, and we get the// Literary Review.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 My daughter from, //in Wellington sends that down.//
F1189 //Mmhm mhmm.//
M1194 along with The Economist.
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes.// //So they're all coming into the house at the present time.//
F1189 //[inaudible] Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 And, er, my wife, especially if she finds a //good review in The Spectator,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 we request the book //from the book bus, and get it very quickly, as a rule.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Now, you mentioned the book bus there. Tell me about //the book bus.//
M1194 //Well the public library// //erm has I think a couple of book buses,//
F1189 //Mm, mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //which go to each suburb once a week.// And you just go there and //you can borrow from what they've got on the shelves or you can request.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Now do you have to pay for borrowing the likes of The Spectator?
M1194 Only, only, no, ah, The Spectator, maybe fifty cents, //or something like that.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm. //And then you give them back? [laugh]//
M1194 //Ah she she does, she does the selecting, I don't do it, she does it.// //So she pays these things.//
F1189 //[laugh]// And then you give them back then? //Mm. You're finished with them. Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, you've got them for three weeks, except The Spectator, might be for a week you're allowed it.//
F1189 But the Scots Magazine then you buy? //Mm, right, uh-huh.//
M1194 //I buy from the shop, yes.//
F1189 So that's a local shop? //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yeah.//
F1189 It's the one thing I haven't seen since I've been here. I've seen the People's Friend. //[laugh]//
M1194 //[laugh] Yes, yeah.// //That came into our house as//
F1189 //And the British Women's Weekly.//
M1194 children, //but I didn't read it.//
F1189 //Did it? Uh-huh.// No? Never, Annie S Swan never appealed? //[laugh]//
M1194 //[exhale]//
F1189 I take it it was your mother then, that //read it?//
M1194 //That's right.//
F1189 Mmhm. //Mm.//
M1194 //Erm,// but I must say I, over the years I've cut out some of the pictures from the front cover.
F1189 Right, oh, why is that?
M1194 Oh, they appeal, places //I've been to, Lake of Menteith, and all these sort of things, yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh. Yeah, uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.// Now when did you first go to Scotland?
M1194 I only went once,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in nineteen eighty-five, //on study leave,//
F1189 //Mm mm.// //Mm uh-huh.//
M1194 //for sixty-nine days.//
F1189 And how did you feel about that?
M1194 I enjoyed every minute, //except about ten.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// [laugh]
M1194 And that was on a train going from Edinburgh to Glasgow //on a Saturday morning//
F1189 //[laugh]// //I knew you were going to say that! [laugh]//
M1194 //And I hadn't realised it was a football// special.
F1189 Oh right! //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //And,// //I got in the carriage and I thought "Heavens, it's//
F1189 //[sniff]//
M1194 there's not even lights in it, and the luggage racks had had been gone and there were just seats, and then the thing filled up with all sorts of hooligans.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And er worst going into that tunnel under, before you come up //into Queen Street station, the//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 the thing stopped
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 in total darkness! [laugh] And I thought "Heavens, how am I going to get out of this place?"
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 But er, yeah.
F1189 Now I hope that wasn't near the start of your trip?
M1194 It was during it, somewhere, I can't //remember when. Oh no no no no.//
F1189 //It might have made a bad impression. [laugh]// //Uh-huh mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //I, once I realised what I was up against, I was fine, yeah, but I//
F1189 Do you think they were more ferocious somehow, the the Scottish football fan, than than say the New Zealand rugby fan?
M1194 I've never been to a rugby match in New Zealand.
F1189 Mmhm uh-huh.
M1194 I, I'm not a sporting person.
F1189 Right. That would have been my next question, to ask you, //if you read anything about sports.//
M1194 //Er no no, I once watched// a match from what they call the Scotsman's Grandstand, up on the hill at Carisbrook.
F1189 The Scotsman's Grandstand?
M1194 Yes. //Wh-//
F1189 //Oh, now wh- why is it called that?//
M1194 Just a bank where you didn't have to pay. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh//
M1194 //The railway line was sort of right beside you.//
F1189 uh-huh. //Mmhm mm//
M1194 //But that's been closed off by the building of a new stand, so.// //It hasn't, sport as such has never appealed to me in any significant way.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Now before you went to Scotland then, on this study leave,
M1194 Yes.
F1189 which I take would have been based in Edinburgh, was it?
M1194 It was based in Glasgow,
F1189 Was it?
M1194 because I'd never met any relations,
F1189 Mm mm.
M1194 and my two cousins lived in Newton Mearns,
F1189 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //yeah.// So I started from there.
F1189 Right, uh-huh.
M1194 And then went to, oh quite early in the piece I went to the General Assembly of the //Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And I had a week at St Andrews, //at the summer school of theology.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And then seven days up in Orkney.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And I met relations and people and that sort of thing. It was very good.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Yeah.
F1189 Did you read up anything about erm what you were going to see before you //you went there?//
M1194 //Ah yes, I did.//
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 The Shell Guide to Scotland.
F1189 [laugh] Uh-huh.
M1194 Er, and I had kept maps and that sort of //thing with me.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yeah.//
F1189 And what about when you were over there? Did you visit any bookshops or //libraries?//
M1194 //Oh James Thin and er// I was fairly familiar with the one in the railway //stations.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 And in St //Andrews,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //and up in Orkney, yeah.//
F1189 So are you are you more versed after that experience where, where your parents came from?
M1194 Oh yes.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes,// because I was meeting some of the cousins.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And that sort of gives you a different slant on //the people you have known. [laugh]//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Mm. Did you bring any books back with //you?//
M1194 //Too many.//
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 Too many.
F1189 I know the feeling. //[laugh]//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 Erm,
M1194 But I already have a, or had a good collection of books, like I have a shelf full of books on Orkney
F1189 Mm.
M1194 that I've gathered up from all over the //place.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And er likewise Scotland generally and England. //[inaudible].//
F1189 //Th- those books about Orkney, would they be factual books?// //Erm.//
M1194 //Yes.// //Oh and erm McKay, what's his name?//
F1189 //or any of the poetry or?// //George.//
M1194 //Er.// //George Mackay Brown, that's//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //right, yeah, that's right.// That sort of thing. //Yes.//
F1189 //What do you think about him then?//
M1194 Oh it's alright.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Erm [tut] what's his name, Rendall, erm, erm not William Rendall the poet? //I was familiar with his work and//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 Oh er the first name escapes me.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 He may in fact have been a very distant relation,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 but that's by the way, yeah.
F1189 And you've ke-, you've kept all erm these these //books, have you, that you brought back.//
M1194 //Yes, oh yes, yeah.//
F1189 Is there anything that springs to mind particularly that you brought back from Scotland that you may not have come across here?
M1194 Well, things like the erm, n-, erm museum of, oh what's the one in Portsmouth? The naval museum //there in Greenwich,//
F1189 //Mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //I thought Greenwich and the the museum there a highlight of the trip.//
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Yes,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 architecturally and in every other way.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Erm, other books in in in particular, mm. Oh a book on Mrs Cranston's tea rooms,
F1189 Uh-huh uh-huh. In Glasgow?
M1194 In Glasgow, erm, I've been interested in erm Mackintosh
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 and his work and, erm, his biography,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 on hand, erm, the er [exhale] My reading as an adult
F1189 Mm.
M1194 would feature these fields, the likes of engineering, //erm,//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 I'm very fond of the biographies of Brunel and Telford,
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //and the Stevensons,// and a number of other likes that,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 naval architects and that sort of person. I read what I can in the way of marine engineering and shipbuilding,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 of the older //sort.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 Er, railway engineering. The books of O.S. Nock.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Erm, quite a lot in geology,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and weather and climate and climate change. Er, and as you've picked already, erm a large interest in New Zealand history,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 erm. I'm President of the Friends of the Hocken Collections, that's the big //research library, down there.//
F1189 //Oh yes, I've been down there, uh-huh.//
M1194 And we've just finished producing a a new book,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 on everything connected with Otago between Captain Cook //and eighteen thirty-nine.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Erm, we've got to sell five hundred copies. //So the Napier University really needs one.//
F1189 //Right, [laugh] better buy one!// //[laugh]//
M1194 //[laugh]//
F1189 Now that's a bit of a labour of love then. //Was it a lot of work? Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Oh I didn't have anything to do with the actual production. I I I really had to leave that to other people.// //But it's an important thing.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1194 Er, I've done quite a bit of res-, my oldest son, my son er er has done a doctorate in history,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 on the politics of business in Otago up until eighteen-ninety.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And he amassed a huge amount of //stuff.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And er a lot of it didn't get used in his thesis.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And I er put a lot of that into er a Who's Who,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in Otago up until about eighteen eighty //in the field of//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 members of the Dunedin Club.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Erm, runholders,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and er promoters of business.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 About a thousand names, //with//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 with potted biographies of the lot, so that a lot of my reading has centred around that sort of //thing.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 And even the Scots Magazine comes into that, because the city of Glasgow
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1194 banks collapse in the eighteen seventies, [inaudible]. Had wide ramifications in New Zealand,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and I don't think New Zealand people have remembered that.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And probably the Scots have forgotten about it.
F1189 Mm, maybe! [laugh] //[laugh] Mmhm.//
M1194 //It's interesting, you know, reading the history of the Free Church,//
F1189 Mm.
M1194 This settlement was promoted by the Lay Association, but the whole settlement only gets a paragraph or two
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in the histories of the Free Church,
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 which says something about the significance of this settlement
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in their view of //things.//
F1189 //Mm. Yeah. Uh-huh.// //Yeah. Mmhm.//
M1194 //I've got a shelf of Free Church history stuff.//
F1189 Now why do you think that is?
M1194 Well,
F1189 Do you think the history of of of this settlement has been more keenly observed and written about here, from here by New Zealanders? //Mm mm mm mmhm.//
M1194 //I think Otago history is well written up by comparison with other parts of New Zealand.// And er there are reasons for that. I also think that in Scotland there are still attitudes to colonials.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 I remember meeting, better be careful that you don't publicise this too much,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 I remember meeting the minister of St Giles and introducing myself as a minister from South Island of New //Zealand and I can//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 still see him looking down his nose at me. //[inhale]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1194 //I know what he was thinking! [laugh]//
F1189 Do you feel that then, do you feel you're you're separate, somehow then? //Despite the long heritage.//
M1194 //Well, [cough]// //that's only one one incident.//
F1189 //Mm mm. Yes, uh-huh.//
M1194 Er, at the General Assembly //overseas visitors are introduced.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// //Mm. mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //You stand up one by one.// After I had er been //introduced//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 at the next gap in //proceedings a number of people came and said, "Oh, you're from Otago."//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// //Mm mmhm mmhm. Yeah.//
M1194 //Er, so on and so on and so on. Very well received.// //But,//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 I still have this vision of this gentleman looking //down his nose at me. [laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// Cause the Scottish church is er, one thing that's struck me about them is that they have gone widely. //I mean they always have,//
M1194 //Oh they're very wide, yes, yeah.//
F1189 er to to all airts and pairts, //if if if you like, and and and have had an influence//
M1194 //That's right, that's right.//
F1189 in a lot of different places.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 But of course we see that from the Scottish //centre.//
M1194 //Mm.//
F1189 I just wondered what it's like to
M1194 Out here. //Well when we had, er, special celebrations, the Moderator has come out here.//
F1189 //[inaudible] mm mm.//
M1194 Erm, James Matheson //came when he was//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Moderator of the Scottish Assembly because he'd been minister at Knox Church before that,//
F1189 Mmhm //mmhm.//
M1194 //here in Dunedin.// And we had Sandy McDonald //in nineteen ninety-eight, when we had the hundred and fifty years.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 Erm.
F1189 Do you have a separate authority here though, or is it //You do?//
M1194 //Ah yes, it's// Presbyterian Church of New Zealand //yes, yes. Mmhm.//
F1189 //of New Zealand, right, uh-huh mmhm.//
M1194 Nowadays they stick Aotearoa in front of it, //to be PC and all that sort of nonsense.//
F1189 //Mmhm uh-huh.// Ah yes, now, can't go anywhere very far in New Zealand without refer- noticing that. //The two languages, have you ever//
M1194 //Ah, yes, yeah.//
F1189 wanted to learn er Maori, or //or anything about that?//
M1194 //Well, unless you're actually// working amongst them, what's //the point of it?//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 On the other hand, there are three of my family work in Wellington
F1189 Mm.
M1194 in government //departments//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 and erm they have to er get on well with //the Maoris.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1194 My older daughter is deputy secretary of justice in charge of courts and //tribunals, and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 she has to represent her department //on Maori mores and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1194 she does that
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 with er you know, a a proper attitude //to the task she has.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// But you you haven't read, yourself //anything to, that would, a "Teach Yourself", if you like, er Maori? [laugh]//
M1194 //I've, I've had no cause to, er, no.// //I didn't even learn enough English grammar to be very good at that sort of thing.//
F1189 //Uh-huh. [laugh]//
M1194 But the others, they they were very careful //about it all.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Right, you mentioned the Scots Magazine, //a wee//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 while back there as being somehow significant to some of the work that you've done. //erm with regard to the the [inaudible],//
M1194 //Ah yes, well,// //all sorts of things crop up.//
F1189 //mm.// //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //I'm not just, that's only one of many things I'm involved with.// Erm, for example, er years ago I was entrusted with a [?]dip box[/?], //or a lap desk,//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 that belonged to Old Daddy Auld,
F1189 Mmhm?
M1194 you know who I mean?
F1189 No, tell me, //tell me.//
M1194 //Oh,//
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 the minister who had to erm reprimand Robert Burns and his Jeanie, //for their misdemeanours.//
F1189 //[laugh] Oh right!// I know about that, //I didn't know the minister's//
M1194 //You know about that, well//
F1189 name. //[laugh]//
M1194 //yes, well Old Daddy Auld// er, his lap dos- //lap desk//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 came out to New Zealand with friends of ours from Stepps, //and they lived in Timaru.//
F1189 //Stepps, just outside Glasgow?// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //That's right.// And er they all died off, and before the last one died off er I was asked to take this lap desk
F1189 Mm.
M1194 to the local er //settler's museum. They've since lost it.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// [exhale] //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //Or lost track of it anyway.// Er, and he didn't realise who Old Daddy Auld was. //Well, there was a very good article on him in//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 reasonably recent //[?]I think I really ought to take that down to him sometime[/?].//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 "This is the man who owned this lap //desk that I've given you to look after."//
F1189 //[laugh]// And lost! //[laugh]//
M1194 //"And you've lost track of it."// //They've built a huge new storage place behind, it will come to light again, but, yeah.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. Right uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 That's just an example.
F1189 Right. //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 //These sort of things crop up,// from time to time.
F1189 And do you keep your Scots Magazines //then?//
M1194 //I do.//
F1189 Mm.
M1194 I don't buy any particular binding things //for them though.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1194 They're dear enough as they are.
F1189 Are there any other Scottish publications then, that you've bought more recently, apart from that?
M1194 Yes, I bought a large er book of Scottish views. //I don't//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 know who it's by now, but er I don't think my wife knows that I've bought //it yet. [laugh]//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 It's up on the on the top //shelf.//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 And also a book on Scottish castles that recently came out.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Er that type of thing.
F1189 Mmhm. Now, where do you buy them from?
M1194 Er, there's a university bookshop,
F1189 Ah right. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //and you can// indent these things, other times you pick them up and importers' er leftovers, or what do they call them, remainders.
F1189 Right. Oh, I see. //Uh-huh, erm,//
M1194 //Yes, that way I don't have to pay too// //yes,//
F1189 //too much, yeah, cause they can be expensive.// //Because they're colour plates.//
M1194 //ah well that's right, and I wouldn't buy them.//
F1189 I have noticed that books are quite expensive in //in New Zealand, yeah.//
M1194 //Yeah, yes.//
F1189 Do you ever frequent any of the second-hand bookshops?
M1194 Oh yes, I not only frequent them, I supply them! //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]//
M1194 Books that I have, have become superfluous to me,
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 er I have a a shop that, he gives me a good price //for them and//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 from him I buy new ones. [laugh]
F1189 Right, well, you see, that's not, you you take them in and you replace them with //[laugh]//
M1194 //That's right, that's right.//
F1189 erm I have noticed the numbers of these in in Dunedin, it does seem to be quite a bookish place. That may be because of the University. //Or it might be other reasons.//
M1194 //Er,// it's not just the University.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Erm, the relationship between the University and the city //as a whole,//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 er there's about twenty thousand tied up in tertiary //education but a lot of them//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 are in the University set-up and you wouldn't know
F1189 Mm.
M1194 er from what you see of them in the local community //that that they were here.//
F1189 //Mm mm.//
M1194 That's not true of them all, //cause some are//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 very outward-looking, //but//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 a lot of them are self-, in a self-contained
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //place, yeah.//
F1189 Erm, it's just that for a, quite a small city, well a small //centre anyway,//
M1194 //Yes.//
F1189 erm I have noticed, cause there's at least four I think, second-hand bookshops,
M1194 Oh there's a lot beyond four.
F1189 There's more than that, is there? //Four that I've seen. [laugh]//
M1194 //Er,// yes, erm, there used to be one very good one,
F1189 Mm.
M1194 called Newbold's,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and you could, it was on four //floors,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 or three, I forget which. And they had all sorts of things, for example, for a few shillings I bought John Knox's "History of the Reformation in Scotland".
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Now you, I've never seen another copy of that.
F1189 Right, uh-huh. //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //It's on display in the Heritage Centre now.// //And it//
F1189 //Ah you gave it away then?// Er, //donated it anyway?//
M1194 //No, I've got my name on it still.//
F1189 Uh-huh. //Uh-huh.//
M1194 //It's on loan.// //I'm not, not quitting that.//
F1189 //Right, [laugh]// //That was a bit of a find.//
M1194 //Erm, and you could pick up,// //well, these things could be found then.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 You won't find them nowadays //unless//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 the man doesn't know much about it.
F1189 Mm mmhm. Anything you've bought recently? And and what kind of areas would you be looking at when you go into one of these shops?
M1194 Erm, not the novels. [laugh] Nor the science //fiction.//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 But I I would look around in the technical side,
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 and erm the New Zealand //side//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 and the history, //the//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 biography.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 Yeah.
F1189 Mmhm. Right. And what are you reading at the moment then, Reverend?
M1194 Erm, serious books. Telford's er biography again,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 for about the third time.
F1189 Right, so you reread books?
M1194 Yes. //Yes.//
F1189 //Mm.// Mmhm.
M1194 Things like erm, what did I tell you, Alexander Whyte,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Alexander Carlyle, Blackie, Hugh Miller. //Er those ones I might have read four or five times.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1194 Yeah.
F1189 Right, so you keep favourites then?
M1194 Oh I keep them, yes.
F1189 And when do you read?
M1194 Late at night.
F1189 You're a a bedtime reader? //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Yeah, I read quite a lot at that time, yeah.// Erm, other than that the day is well taken up, yes.
F1189 What about when you go on holiday? What would you take with you then?
M1194 Ah, not much.
F1189 Right, so you don't read on //holiday?//
M1194 //I rest my eyes.//
F1189 Right. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Or read what's on somebody else's shelves, yeah.//
F1189 So, is reading then for you recreation, leisure, or is it something you're doing to keep on educating yourself? //Or all of those?//
M1194 //Erm, all three.// Yes.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 All three.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. I'm just wondering why you've never been tempted by fiction.
M1194 Oh, when I was working as a labourer on the building of the Roxburgh Hydro Dam
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Er, //there was no-//
F1189 //When was that?//
M1194 oh nineteen fifty-three, fifty-four //thereabout.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// Were you still a student //then? Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yeah.// And er that was in a community of about four hundred men,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 from all over the world.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And there were no places where you could //get any substantial//
F1189 //Mmhm mm.//
M1194 er books, so er Baroness Orczy's "Tartan Pimpernel", and
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 Hodder and Stoughton //had a lot of yellow-backed//
F1189 //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 things, and I went through umpteen of them.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm. And were they available to you //there?//
M1194 //Oh you could// get them, er in bookshops somewhere, //I don't know where I got them from now.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1194 //Er, yes.//
F1189 Mm, oops, now, you got married to a New Zealander, //is that correct? Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yeah.//
F1189 Erm, how many children do you have?
M1194 Three.
F1189 Did you do as your father had done in encouraging your children to read? They've all turned out to do rather well for themselves, so.
M1194 Yeah, well erm in Ashburton where I was //for nineteen years we were just er//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 twenty metres from the library,
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 so [cough] they did well with
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 reading and [inaudible] they were read to when they were small.
F1189 Right.
M1194 And then they've been encouraged to //read.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And they still read.
F1189 Mmhm. Were you read to when you were small? //I mean I know your father showed you the colour plates and//
M1194 //I don't, I don't remember that.//
F1189 Mm mmhm.
M1194 I don't think so.
F1189 And did you read to your children? //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 //Dorothy did, yes.//
F1189 Do you remember any of those stories? Were they familiar to you in //any way?//
M1194 //Oh,// "Little Black Sambo" and things like that //that weren't supposed to be read.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm. [laugh]// Er well "Little Black Sambo" is interesting cause it was actually written by a Scottish woman.
M1194 Was it?
F1189 Mm, did you know that? //[laugh]//
M1194 //No I didn't know that.// //But you're not allowed to read it these days,//
F1189 //Helen Bannerman, yeah.//
M1194 yeah. //It's not, which is ridiculous but//
F1189 //No, you're not, but er// er, was it part of your childhood? //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //No, no, no, no.// Erm, well, mentioning that, //there was//
F1189 //Mm.//
M1194 er one American sort of classic that we were read I think as children, however, it doesn't matter.
F1189 Was it "Little House on the Prairie", or? //Ah, uh-huh, right, mmhm.//
M1194 //That style of thing, but it wasn't that.// Nothing, my sister read "Little Women",
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 or //I I don't even know what that's about, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// I did notice the other day when I was in Mosgiel that there was a Christian bookshop there. //Erm,//
M1194 //Yeah.//
F1189 do you know anything about that? //Do you go there? No, no, uh-huh.//
M1194 //No, I never frequent those places.// No.
F1189 So in your your book buying then, where are you doing that? Mostly in the //second-hand stores, mmhm.//
M1194 //In the University bookshop,// or Whitcoulls or Paper Plus, //but I don't very often buy things there.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 There used to be a shop called the Otago Heritage Bookshop,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 and I bought far too much there.
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 Hundreds of dollars' worth.
F1189 Are you addicted then to buying books?
M1194 I, yes.
F1189 [laugh] //Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1194 //Yes, that's a- an honest answer to a straightforward question.// //Yes.//
F1189 //Mmhm.// That's a pleasure for you then? To own them, I mean how //how do you feel about that? Mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //I like to buy a book that's going to hold its value.// Yes.
F1189 And how would you measure that value?
M1194 Erm, that it's worth rereading.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 That if somebody had to sell it, //it would have//
F1189 //Mmhm.//
M1194 some value.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 That's a very mercenary way of //looking at it.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 But erm there are some books I have that er, you know, would be worth a hundred dollars, //at least.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //No trouble at all.// //Auctioned.//
F1189 //Erm, uh-huh.// //and//
M1194 //Mm.//
F1189 do you ever sell them then, sell them on? //You do? Mmhm.//
M1194 //Yes, yeah, yes, yes.//
F1189 Is that an interest of yours too then, //in rare books?//
M1194 //Ah I'm not a// trader.
F1189 Uh-huh.
M1194 I'm just making space on the shelves //for, [laugh] that's right.//
F1189 //Right. For more? [laugh]// Do you read about rare books then? //Mm.//
M1194 //Not greatly.// //I, if a catalogue comes my way, I look through it to see what- what's there.//
F1189 //Mmhm mm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 And my son does the same, and //he might buy something for me in Wellington.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Right, so you still get books as gifts?
M1194 Oh yes, yes.
F1189 More welcome than the Sunday School prizes? [laugh]
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Did you ever have any influence then, over what, when you were a minister, er when you had a parish over what the children got as //Sunday School prizes? Did you? Mmhm.//
M1194 //No, I kept well away from that. Yes.// A- and not only that, the prizegiving thing //has gone out altogether.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm mmhm.// Has it?
M1194 Yeah, yes.
F1189 Mm. //Mmhm.//
M1194 //At least as to the best of my knowledge, yeah.//
F1189 That's rather sad from my point of view, because I've had a lot of mileage out of people telling me about their Sunday School //prizes. [laugh] Mm.//
M1194 //Ah, yes, ah well, erm.// //Yes.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm.//
M1194 No, we haven't given prizes, as they used //to be given, for years, yeah.//
F1189 //Mm mmhm mmhm.// Is that the non-competitive instinct that's coming in to //Sunday School? Mmhm.//
M1194 //Oh, I think they might even have// rationalised things by saying it's better to encourage children to give than to receive.
F1189 Fair enough, yes, uh-huh.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Erm, I suppose really you've you've been very er generous with your time, we should probably er round things up now, with just a couple of last questions. //Er,//
M1194 //Yes, yeah.//
F1189 could I ask you something that is quite difficult, but erm I'd like to hear what you think about it. And is that, that is if could you sum up for me what reading has meant in your lifetime.
M1194 Reading has meant, erm, a stimulus to further thought,
F1189 Mmhm mmhm.
M1194 er a broadening of the mind, erm, and a pleasure. Yes.
F1189 You could say more. Erm, and the last thing is, you're a New Zealander, really, you were born here, //although you've got Scottish parents,//
M1194 //Yes, yes.//
F1189 do you feel that Scotland is in any way a part of your identity now?
M1194 Yes, I felt particularly when I got north of Wick,
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 that somehow I had been there before.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 And er because I'd heard my parents talking a lot about Orkney, when they had Orkney //friends,//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 street names and places and people, //were al- already familiar.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// So your parents did have then friends //from Orkney come to the house? Right, uh-huh.//
M1194 //Oh yes, yes yes, yes yes.//
F1189 Erm, did th- did they have a- an Orkney accent, by the way?
M1194 Oh some of them did.
F1189 Mmhm.
M1194 Yes.
F1189 Your parents, that is?
M1194 Er, I don't think so.
F1189 No, mmhm.
M1194 Don't think so, not not not not in the sense that some of the Orkney people did.
F1189 Mmhm. Right, so it was more standard //Scottish then, mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //Standard standard Scottish, I think, yes.//
F1189 And you've picked a bit of that up, I can //tell.//
M1194 //Father used// to talk about erm, instead of "j", "ch", which is a- an Orkney //characteristic, "pass the jam".//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Yes. [laugh] //Uh-huh. [laugh]//
M1194 //"ch" like [?]chade[/?]. [laugh]// //And//
F1189 //Have you ever been// er mistaken for a Scot here?
M1194 Oh yes, quite often.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 And I was preaching at Caversham one time as a student, and afterwards half a dozen men came round and asked me was I from the north of Ireland and was I a member of the Orange Lodge. And with the brashness of youth, I said thank God I was neither. //[laugh]//
F1189 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
M1194 //And they went away in a huff, [laugh] can't blame them.//
F1189 [laugh]
M1194 Years later, I had to look after that parish for about three years,
F1189 Mm. //[laugh]//
M1194 //I didn't have the courage to tell them that I'd already had an encounter with some of them. [laugh]// //Fortunately their memory wasn't too good.//
F1189 //It would, ah.// Well good. [laugh] Would you ever have been tempted to go back and minister in Scotland?
M1194 I would if
F1189 Mm.
M1194 the financial way was open to do that.
F1189 Mm.
M1194 Er, I think I could manage that //quite well over there, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm.// Yeah. //Oh I'm sure//
M1194 //Erm,//
F1189 they would, the parish would enjoy you over there. //Mmhm mmhm mmhm mmhm.//
M1194 //I think I would enjoy them too, there's nothing I like better but// you talk about going into a bookshop, I used to go, like going into a bookshop and ostensibly looking at a book, but listening to the conversation of the people round me
F1189 Mm.
M1194 and the different accents //and yeah, yeah.//
F1189 //Mmhm mmhm yeah, uh-huh.// Well I think we'll finish there.
M1194 I think that's about time to finish! //[laugh]//
F1189 //Thank you very very much// indeed, erm, for being so generous with your time, and I've enjoyed talking with you this afternoon. //Thank you. [laugh]//
M1194 //Yes, well, it's been very interesting talking to you too, and I hope it's// not er upended your researches too badly. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1189 //Well, I'm sure it won't have. [laugh]//

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Interview with Rev. John G. Sinclair for Scottish Readers Remember Project. 2020. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2020, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1677.

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"Interview with Rev. John G. Sinclair for Scottish Readers Remember Project." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2020. Web. September 2020. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1677.

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Interview with Rev. John G. Sinclair for Scottish Readers Remember Project

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Year of recording 2009
Recording person id 1189
Size (min) 94
Size (mb) 457

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Recording venue Interviewee's office
Geographic location of speech Dunedin

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Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2009
Year material recorded 2009
Word count 13717

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Interview

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Participant details

Participant id 1189
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 16
Occupation Research Assistant
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Journeyman joiner
Father's place of birth Ayr
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Domestic
Mother's place of birth Ayr
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland

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