Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991

[See also below: THE SILCOCK FAMILY - E]

By John (Young Jack) Forrest

On 2 May 1991 I drove into Station Road, Towers Street and then into Prospect Terrace (Paeroa) and to the end of the street where I sat and looked around me. What a change. My mind went back to the time when I lived here - back to 1925.

A typical day in May 1925. . .I would have returned home from school on my bike turning first into Station Road then Rye Lane and finally Prospect Terrace. I waved to Mrs Mettam and Muriel at the first house then passed Mrs Jimmy Irvine next door and on to Poppy Gun, talking over the fence to Birdie Gibb. I saw old Charlie Mellam in his big vege garden, waved a hello to Mrs Mitchell. Then down past our top paddock to the gate by the brick garage, rode on down the big drive past the small paddock and the race leading under the large macrocarpa trees to the cow yard under the Christmas plum trees by the big hedge and in through the double gates at the front of the house.

At the back of the house I was greeted by old Grannie Silcock with instructions for me to catch two hens she wanted to dress for the church bazaar the following day. On entering the kitchen I was amazed at the sight of all the cakes and other goodies laid out on the table, also for the church bazaar. My mother gave me a warning look, to no avail, for I earned myself a clip on the ear when I pinched a cake. Telling her she was the best cook in the world did not avoid the pain of receiving punishment.

After getting changed I went out to meet Gran at the fowl house. After much chasing and flying of feathers I finally secured the hens of her choice. I held one while she took the other to her work bench under the big apple tree where she proceeded to dispose of the life of that poor bird. I cannot divulge the method used except to say that when that bird was dressed ready for show there was not a sign of how it died. I might add that Gran was well known for the awards she won for dressed poultry. After disposing of the unwanted portions of the unfortunate birds I started my other chores. Feeding hens, ducks or geese, which ever we had at that time, and feeding the rabbits, two white, two black and one grey. Then it was down the path to the bottom paddock to check the pigs. I recall that one day I came home from school to be greeted with the news that the pig was out. There it was happily feeding among my cows in the bottom paddock near the quarry. The chase of that animal took me over the big drain, across paddocks to Station Road, up the main street (Belmont Road) along under the subway and into Junction Road. By this time there were dozens of children in the chase. At Chamberlain's farm the pig suddenly turned around and went right through that multitude of children and back into Junction Road. We managed to turn it off Puke Road and headed it over the railway line and at last into Bertteson's paddock where my good friend Billy Donnelly, with great courage, beyond the call of duty, made a flying tackle that any All Black would be proud of and secured one hind leg. Others of us plucked up courage then and with the help of a rope finally got it back home and into its sty. May I add that no other pig ever managed to escape from that sty.

Now back to my story. . . after checking the pig I would call my "lovely girls" who were grazing in the paddock. There were four at that time, Pet, my favourite. Old Blackie, Young Daisy and one I called "My Ugly Duckling". She was about three feet high if that, nearly eight feet long with a big downward curve in her back, making the bottom of her belly a foot from the ground and her teats a matter of inches from the ground. A special half bucket was needed to milk her. There was a real ritual with that beast. As soon as I knelt on the ground to milk her a short stumpy leg would suddenly rise and plonk into the bucket, from where it would take Hercules strength to remove. I soon got to know her and we came to an amicable arrangement later on. I would let her stomp first and then she would let me place my (by then) warmed hands on her, and let the fluid that nature bestowed upon her flow into the bucket.

Back to the chores... kindling and coal to get in for morning then out to the dairy, the pride of all out buildings. All internal walls white washed, benches scrubbed spotless. The bench inside the door held buckets and cream billies then separator parts all shining bright, butter churn with patts. (Gran's butter) How I ? ? ? ! that butter. Then of course the stone jars of preserved eggs. I would assemble the separator and then head for my milking shed. First a call to the cows, receiving a "moo" in answer, then proceeded past the poultry runs, through the large orchard, picking a ripe apple on the way. By then my "girls" were coming up the race. Pet, first bail, Blackie next. Old Blackie was Gran's cow (ageless). Not long after this day her "taps" ran dry and one Saturday morning I was told to take her out to the Abattoirs. After getting out the gate I climbed on my bike and, tapping her on the rump to get her started, proceeded riding my bike with one hand over her neck (no rope or stick) right through Paeroa, to Waihi Road and on to the Abattoirs at the foot of Turners Hill. (I think it took hours.) The lady at the abattoir house came out to meet us and said she had never seen anything like it before. I put Blackie in a paddock where she turned to watch me go. I'm sure there were tears in her eyes when I wished her goodbye but not half as many tears as mine all the way home.

After milking, during which the cat had its full supply, a squirt or two or more straight from nature's tap, I would supply house milk and start to separate, after which I would clean up and put the cream billy in cold water ready to be added to next morning. On my way to school I would deliver my billy to Paeroa Dairy Factory, much to the amusement of other farmers with their big cans.

The evening was spent, after dinner, listening to radio and playing cards with old Granny before she went to bed. I'm tired too - think I'll hit the hay - Good-night.


By J D Forrest

I have read nearly all the Historical Journals, but have not found mention of all the family at the same time. The family history I have managed to gather is as follows. Other people may be able to add to my findings.

James Silcock was born 8 Feb 1848 at Cubley, Derbyshire, England. He married Mary Heath who was born 21 July 1854 at Cheddleton, Staffordshire. The marriage took place at Llannair Monmo, Monmonthshire on 3 March 1875.

They arrived in NZ at Auckland in 1879. He worked in a timber mill at Dargaville until they came to Paeroa in 1880. At one stage he was County Foreman. He purchased 27 acres of freehold land in Rye Lane, 25 acres of which he leased out. This 25 acres is now part of Kennedy Street, Millar Avenue and Quarry Hill.

The original home on Prospect Terrace was at the top end (or west end). He later built (Greendale) at the bottom end (east end) of Prospect Terrace where the family lived for many years. I have very fond memories of it. When Gran Silcock passed away we, the Forrest Family, moved to 4 Prospect Terrace. The old property was then sold to Mr Denton, later Mr Allan, then to the present owner, Mr Stevens.

A summary of the family is as follows:

James Silcock

Died 26.3.1911

aged 63

Mary Silcock

Died 15.1.1937

aged 83

Their family comprised,

Catherine Mary

Born 1876

Died 1961

Sarah Anne

Born 1878

Died 1954

Samuel Thomas

Born 1880

Died 1926

James William

Born 1883

Died 1970


Born 1885

Died 1911

Lilly married J W Forrest in 1909 they had two children (twins), W J Forrest (Bill) and Lilly (Girlie) and after his wife's death Mr Forrest married Catherine Mary.

Sarah Anne married I A Wood in 1905. She had one child by that marriage, J H (Harry). After I A Woods death she married C E Clews (Charles) and had one child by that marriage J E (Ted).

Samuel Thomas married Olive Lipsham in 1913 and had two children Gladys and Molly.

James William married Emily Rachel Edwards. Their four children were Emily Constance, James Edwin, Jack Cedric and Sheila Mary.

Catherine Mary married J W Forrest after her sister Lilly's death in 1911. There were two children by that marriage, Heath Gibson and John (Jack) Douglas.