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Life in Early Poverty Bay


The dust nuisance was so bad in Gisborne in the 70's that it was almost impossible to go anywhere when a nor'-wester was blowing. On race days everyone, men and women, wore blue gossamer veils, and I have known the leaders in the five-horse brake turn round and refuse to face the blinding dust storm on the road to Waerenga-a-hika course. Gladstone Road was like Waikanae Beach for cutting sand. But, soon after the Borough Council was formed, it was decided to try and keep down the dust nuisance and punts were built and were towed up to the “Island” up the Waimata river and there loaded with papa which was brought down and the muddy papa placed on Gladstone Road from the Post Office to about Grey Street. That was all right in the summer but, when winter came, it was awful, for the cure was as bad as the disease or worse. Stone crossings were then made of flat stones from the other. ‘Island”—Sponge Ba—one crossing from the Albion to Williams and Kettle's corner, one from there to the letter boxes at the Post Office, one at the Masonic corner, and one at Townley's corner. If you saw a friend “over the road” whom you wanted to speak to, you whistled to him and walked up to the stone crossings and met on one side or the other of Gladstone Road. It is said that a man was thrown off his horse opposite the N.Z. Clothing Factory's premises and he was never seen again. I was not there, so I cannot vouch for this.