90 Years
1847 - 1937

Part I
1847 - 1912


Some years ago when visiting my nieces in Auckland we began to
talk of the Past of our family. They had remembered clearly
their grandparents (White) but knew nothing of the families
from whom they came - nor of their grandfather’s life and
educational work in New Zealand, and now that they were married
and had children of their own they felt that they would like
to have some record to be able to pass on to their children -
their children’s children - and it was suggested that as I was
the only surviving member of our family, I could perhaps make
some written record of the past as far as I was able.

I realised this was a natural request and felt it almost a duty
for me to carry this out. So on returning home I decided to
try what I could do to recall from past memories, conversations,
letters and writings enough material to make a story - including
in this a record of my father’s (David Renfrew White) life and

As my father lived for 90 years I have tried to give a picture
of the variety in his life - his home life - his childhood in
Edinburgh - his schooldays in Hobart, Tasmania, - his student days
in Dunedin and his subsequent educational career - his marriage
and our family life - his retirement and years of travel and his
return to Dunedin.

To enable me to do this I am indebted to several books of reference
and to the assistance of a few persons - these I acknowledge
at the end of this first part of my father’s life up to the time
of his retirement from a position of Principal of the Teachers’
College in Dunedin and Professor of Education at the University
of Otago.


John White was born in Peebles on September 8, 1772.
From what I remember I think my father told me John White was a
builder, and was apprenticed to a Mr Wilson in Kirknewton and
later married his only daughter Mary.

Mary Wilson was born in Kirknewton September 9, 1782.

She had three brothers:

  1. James Wilson M.A. Edin. - Minister and poet.
  2. William Wilson M.D. Edin. - Medical Officer on a Convict Ship sailing to Tasmainia.
  3. George Wilson - sheep farmer at Mt. Seymour, North of Hobart, Tasmania.

1. James Wilson was the author of

  1. The Pleasure of Piety (a long poem in imitation of Milton)
  2. A Volume of Verse Published in 1822 and dedicated to Jas Pillans
    Esq. - Professor of Humanity in the University of Edinburgh.1

The opening lines - To the Reader give a picture of the humble home and birth of the writer.

"Beneath a lowely roof o’ straw
Did I the vital air first draw
When surly Winter held his reign
Owre histy height an’ level plain.
Sae deep the snow lay on each field
It ilka hedge an’ dyke concealed:
While through my cottage’ chinky door
The drift pil’d on the earthen floor:
Sae neither gossiping nor mirth
Attended on my humble birth.
An’ should the outset o’ my rhymes
Meet cauld reception frae the times
It’s only what the author met
When in the warld his nose he set."

Mary Wilson and John White were married in Edinburgh by Rev. Robert Walker in 1801 or 1802 and went to live in Ratho
(north of Kirknewton). Three children were born to them:
  1. Catherine b. May 1803
  2. Christina (Kirsty)
  3. James Wilson b. February, 1811, in Ratho. Ratho is a
    small village with stone cottages that must be centuries
    old. (I visited it in 1954 - the Parish Church was
    impressive - an unusual shape - partly Norman with some
    very old windows - a Knight Templar was buried there - a
    gallery at the back with some old tombs - Sir Alex Pentland
    (17th Cent.)

From Ratho my great grandparents returned to Edinburgh to
live and my grandfather attended Fountainbridge school there. I have his exercise book - a large oblong book with thick parchment-
like leaves with arithmetic exercises in the form of accounts con-
cerned with the selling of various lines such as Drapery, Butcher’s goods, Carpentry, etc.

(My Father displayed this book in the Education Court of the Dunedin Exhibition in 1925 - an example of Arithmetic as taught in Scotland in 1825).

As a young man in Edinburgh my grandfather saved up enough money to go and hear Jenny Lind sing in St. Goerge’s Hall, Edin-
burgh. He often spoke of this experience - "He had never heard anything so fine."

After his school days my grandfather went to Paisley to
live and work. Here he was a member of the most famous Church
choir in Scotland at that time. (It is still a famous choir)
The choir was known then as the Paisley Abbey Band.

His certificate of membership of this choir showed that he
was the possessor of a double-bass voice, which I understand
showed he sang among the second basses. A good voice and musical
ability were needed to gain entrance to the choir.

In Paisley he met his future wife Agnes Renfrew daughter of
David Renfrew and Margaret Blackburn - the Renfrews came from the Hurlet Co Renfrewshire. After their marriage they moved to
Colinton - a suburb of Edinburgh - and there my grandfather
carried out his interest in choir singing as a Precentor.

In Colinton his first children were born - Agnes (1838), John (1840) and Mary (1842) - also a daughter Margaret (stillborn).

The family then moved to Rose Street, Edinburgh. A narrow street between Princes and George Streets just below Edinburgh Castle.

Here my father David Renfrew White was born on June 21, 1847 and entered the world as the great gun of Edinburgh castle was firing at midday.

1847 was the year that Sir James Young Simpson first used chloroform. This, no doubt, had a special interest for the
"White" family as my grandfather’s second sister Christina
(Auntie Kirsty) was nurse to his children and was a member
of their household for many years.

Coinciding with the year of my father’s birth the "joking remark" handed down in the family that the gun was fired to
announce the arrival of another "great man" was connected with this.

My father had few memories of Edinburgh as the family
emigrated to Tasmania in 1853 when he was only 6 years old, but
two impressions vividly remained. the first day going to school
and crying bitterly as his brother John led him along the street
at the foot of the Castle - the other, visits to the seaside to
see Auntie "Kirsty", when he was taken with the Simpson children
to the beach to bathe. As they emerged from the water each was
given a ginger biscuit (called a "shivering bite" in Scotland -
an expression handed down to us as children at Broad Bay). Then
Auntie Kirsty vigorously dried each with a rough towel.

(A propos of the Simpson household one of these children -
a daughter and her husband many years later visited New Zealand

and called to see the brother of their old nurse at the family
home in Gt. King Street, Dunedin.)

In 18532 my grandparents had six children whose ages ranged from 15 years to one. He had heard from his uncle Dr. William Wilson (who had been a medical officer on a Convict Ship to
Tasmania some years earlier) about this attractive country and
the opportunities it offered for young people. My grandfather
was now a man of forty-two and rather older than the average
emigrant and he may have hesitated in venturing forth with little
means. But a letter from another uncle (George Wilson) who had
already settled in Tasmania suggested that he and his family should
join him in the running of his farm at Mt. Seymour - George Wilson
and his wife had no children and I understand he felt he could be
of assistance to his nephew by offering him a temporary home and
work. This may have given my grandparents confidence in such
a big venture as crossing the sea.

Eventually they sailed from liverpool for Tasmania. The first night at sea there was a terrific storm in Irish Sea and this must have been a frightening prelude to their long voyage. Their fears increased when my grandfather heard the Captain’s
voice - "All Hands on Deck to Worship".

This must have seemed the end and the only hope left was through prayer! So he hastily took their feather pillows and
tied them round the necks of the children - these were to act
as life jackets if they were in the water. What must have been
my grandfather’s relief on going on deck to find the Captain’s
order was to the Crew "All Hands on Deck to Wear Ship"!

They arrived in Launceston as "Free Settlers" a name that was given to all arrivals after the Penal Settlement had come to an end in 1852. I realized when reading the history of Tasmania in Hobart that to be a "Free Settler" was an important social
distinction - no one could suggest your ancestry might be convict!

They then moved south to the home of George Wilson at
Mt. Seymour to the north of Hobart and stayed with him and his
wide on arrival. Five children, whose ages ranged from sixteen

to two years, could not have been a welcome addition to a quiet home unaccustomed to children and my grandfather, I have heard, did not feel they were as welcome as he had expected.

My grandfwather was a proud man and very independent and it
was not long before he decided to move to Hobarton (as it was then called) to start working for himself. He was a trained
carpenter and builder.

They took up residence in a terraced house near the Elephant
and Castle in Bathhurst Street and soon James White had his first
contract - the Wharf Buildings on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel off
Bruni Island. My father used to talk of his experience here
with his father rowing out in a boat to collect the mail.
This is where his love of the water sprang from, to be passed
on to us in our holidays at Broad Bay in our Childhood.

One more child was born here - Christina in 1854, known to me and my brothers and to all her nieces and nephews as
Auntie Chris. (I shall have more to write of her later).

The family evidently attended the Baptist Church and from the Sunday School attached my father received a prize - "The
Life of General Havelock". He was also a member of the Band
of Hope there and frequently sang in his boyish soprano at
their meetings.

I do not know what school the children attended on arrival
but my father later was a pupil of the Presbyterian Church
School (Chalmers School under the Headmastership of Mr J.
Ireland - a well known teacher in Hobart for many years).
This must have meant a real sacrifice on the part of his mother
to provide the necessary fees, but she could not resist
David’s pleading to go on with his studies. He was a keen
student and his mother must have been rewarded in his gaining
two prizes there in the top class in 1859.

lst Class - 2nd Prize
Awarded to Master D. White for Algebra, Geography,
English Grammar and Euclid at the Christmas
Examination of Chalmers School. December 19, 1861.
(Signed) J. Ireland

lst Prize - Awarded to Master D. White for Drawing.
(Signed) F. Dunnett, Drawing Master.

(These prizes are now housed in the Van Diemans Land Folk
Museum in Hobart)

While attending this school my father assisted Mr Ireland in compiling an early book on the "History and Geography of
Oceania" for the use of schools, comprising a detailed account
of the Australian Colonies, and a brief sketch of Malaysia,
Australasia and Polynesia (published in 1861. W. Fletcher -
Printer Elizabeth Street).

I saw copies of this book in the Mitchell Library, Sydney and in the Archives Section of the Public Library in Hobart.
I was interested in the author’s introduction to his book:

"While the youth of these colonies are being made
familiar with the Geography of other countries it
is to be regretted that they remain in comparative
ignorance of their own. The fact that no satis-
factory treatise on the geography of Australasia
has yet been published - although several excellent
and elaborate maps of this portion of the world
have now made their appearance - has induced the
Author to attempt the compilation of this little
manual. He had made the attempt from no other
motive than a hope that it may be a service to at
least his own pupils and perhaps to Australian youths
in general".

There was also a brief outline of the sciences of Geology,
Botany and Zoology.

In 1861 James Wilson White decided to cross the Tasman and
settle in New Zealand and with his son John sailed for Dunedin.

0n arrival in Dunedin they looked for a piece of land
suitable to build a house on - after being offered a section of

land in Princes Street for $l7, which my grandfather thought too much, they settled on a small section in Gt King Street in North Dunedin opposite the present site of the Museum grounds - the
land sloping down on the east side of this street was very
swampy right along to the present North Ground and the block that
lay between Union and St David Streets was known as Gilk’s
Meadow. Later this swampy ground lying in front of the section
bought by my grandfather was reclaimed and planted and worked
by Chinese gardeners.

Father and son built a small wooden house with a door on the
left and a room on the right with a window facing the street.
Above was a kind of semi-storey with two small attic windows -
this house may not have been quite finished when my grand-
mother and her daughters and son David arrived by S.S. Tamar
on June 9, 1862 from Hobart and I think my father (then aged
15) assisted his father to roof the house with Tasmanian
shingles (one wonders if my grandfather had ordered them from
Hobart and were perhaps brought over on the same ship?)

In this house my grandparents lived for the rest of their
lives. As my grandfather died when I was only three years
old I have no more than a vague picture in my mind of’a tall
man - serious, rather stern looking - with blue eyes - pale
blue - and a high forehead. From my father’s description of
him he took life very seriously - he had not much sense of
humour. (My father used to say that he had never heard his
father laugh!) Though he was often heard to whistle and to

He was not perhaps easy to live with - impatient - would
not brook interference - unambitious but thoroughly honest in
word and deed. Summoned to give evidence at a Police Court
he refused to swear on the Bible - "My word is my bond" he said.

He was accurate and honest in his work too. In this
every detail was perfected and articles of furniture he made
for my mother on her marriage to his son David and which are
still in our home show the excellence and quality and
durability of his workmanship.

I feel that had he been given the opportunity to choose his
life’s work he would have been a student from his great interest
in study. He was a reader and a thinker - especially interested
in the study of religion - perhaps an inheritance from his father’s
mother’s family whose two brothers had worked hard in their deter-
mination to go to the University.

I do not know whether my grandfather’s parents were members
of the Parish Church at Ratho and whether my grandfather was
baptised in that Church. There compulsory registration of births
came in only in 1855 and unless a baptism took place in the
Parish Church there could be no record available.

I am sorry that on my short visit to Ratho in 1954 I had no
opportunity to see the Parish files of 1811. On driving through
Ratho later I passed a group of terraced stone cottages and my
eye was caught by a notice board on one of them - "Christian
Disciples" and I wondered if my great grandparents had perhaps
been connected with them for later in Hobart and in Dunedin my
grandfather’s family belonged to the Baptist Church or one of
its branches - the Church of Christ. This lifelong interest in
religion continued until my grandfather’s stage of belief was
such that he commenced the study of Greek when he was over sixty.
He wished to read for himself the truth of the Scriptures in the
original language.

This was typical of my grandfather - he could not accept -
he had to search for himself. He was indeed a "Seeker after the
Truth" - but at the end of his life he could only say "I do not

Another great interest in his life was medicine - particularly
Dr. Kirks Treatment. He was a great advocate of water baths -
had no faith in medicines and was so against vaccination in
babies that neither myself or my brothers were vaccinated against
smallpox, so as not to vex the old man. But his passionate
interest in singing is what has always aroused my sympathy and
made me wish I could have known him.

He was at one time Precentor in his church and I have
still his Psalm Book with the different voices each written out
on its own melodic line and preceded by a few pages of instruc-
tions on the elements of music (now in Knox College Library).

The members of his family nearly all sang and almost
formed a choir in themselves. Indeed they were known to their
friends as "the Singing Whites". The eldest daughter Agnes
had a deep contralto and supplied the tenor voice in the
absence of a real tenor in the family.

I am sure my grandfather must have had sound ideas on
the value of language in the interpretation of song - the
importance of the word in a phrase - for one of his sayings
my father often quoted was "Prepositions and conjunctions should
never be emphasized". How often this came to me when I myself
was teaching and conducting choral groups and realized that
my grandfather had also to correct this very common fault in

My grandmother Agnes Renfrew White I never saw. But
I have heard so much from my father and from my aunts and elder
cousins who knew her well to realize the strength and beauty of
her character. She was a little woman - a contrast to her
tall husband - the centre and strength of the home and deeply
loved - her influence extending out to the homes of her son
and daughters after they were married. She had her own wise
and gentle but firm way and could manage her husband’s more
unbending nature. I think she had a special love for her
second son David (my father) and I know that his love for her
was very tender and deep and faithful - to the end of his
life he never went on holiday without walking up to the Northern
Cemetery to visit her grave as his last tribute and this was
the first visit he paid on his return.

They were always great companions and to him she
turned when she needed help and sympathy in family anxieties.

Life in Dunedin was still a struggle as it had been
in Hobart - Grandfather’s work would not be regular and probably
not very remunerative, but grandmother had her little ways to
help in keeping the home going.

Agnes, the eldest daughter of the family, had married at an early age in Hobart, Charles Penman - a widower with at least one of a family. They had also come to Dunedin and were living in George Street a little further to the North. John, the elder son, became dissatisfied with working with his father and left for the Otago goldfields joining hundreds of young men going to Gabriel’s Gully. Mary, the second daughter, was the helper in the home and specially attached to her younger brother, David, who was known as Mary’s little boy. The three younger sisters, Kate, Jessie and Christina, had still to have their Schooling.

Fortunately for them within a few months of their arrival the second school in Dunedin - the North District School - was opened in 1863 under the Headmastership of Mr Alexander Stewart -
a schoolmaster from Scotland. This was situated most conveniently
for the sisters at the corner of Union and Gt King Streets so that
they had but to cross the street. The fees, it is interesting
to note, were 4/- per quarter for Reading and History - 6/- with
the addition of Geography. This was reduced to half for a family
of three, so the White sisters would probably be paying 12/- a
year each for their attendance at school. Further references to
this school will come later in my father’s reminiscences at the
Jubilee of the School.

Of how my father was spending these years I know very
little. I know his wish was to go on with his studies and
become a teacher - but there was neither money nor opportunity
to do this.

But from various stories from the past I gather that he
tried several lines of work, assisting for a time in a seedsman’s
store, learning to make paper packets for seeds, and on one
occasion being sent to the hill above the Botanical Gardens to
gather Pittosporum seeds for the Melbourne Public Gardens - this
experience proving a little exciting for he had no sooner reached
the top of the tree when a large black rat jumped out!

I believe he also kept books at night for a Baker in
Hanover Street and also after the departure of his brother to
the Diggings, he must have received training from his father to

enable him to help him in his building. But what he earned
from these would only help in the living expenses of the house-
hold and he had to wait yet a while before the opportunity came
to make money for himself and continue his education. In 1863
and 64 Dunedin was developing in many directions. To the work
of the Early Pioneers were added many amenities of city life.
A Fire Brigade was formed - the streets were lighted with gas -
Pillar boxes were set up in the streets - George Street was
levelled and covered with rough metal for the first time and on
the occasion of the Prince of Wales’ marriage, one of the cele-
brations included a march along George Street to the Octagon by
the children of the North District School including no doubt
Kate, Jessie and Christina White, where they had the excitement
of seeing a bullock roasted.

In this year also a third school was opened - the South
District School - under Mr J.B. Park - a school that was known
later as the William Street School and which has a special
interest in this story to the members of the family in that
fifteen years later my mother and father, each a teacher on the
staff, were to have their first meeting.

My father was now 17 years of age, but he was not yet in
a position to achieve his ambition - to be a teacher - he had
no money and there was no university. But there was talk of
founding a university in Dunedin and a committee had been
formed of leading citizens to make preliminary arrangements.
This must have been of deep interest to my father - but where
was the money to come from to enable him to attend classes
when the time came?

His brother John had had no luck at Gabriel’s Gully and
was anxious to go to the West Coast where thousands of young
men were flocking. He left for Hokitika in 1866 and was
fortunate in "striking gold" very soon. He had staked out
his claim and wrote home that his first find was 25 ounces for
which he received $95.14.90, from the Bank of New South Wales.

He sent $90 to his mother to help with the family expenses
and urged his brother David to join him. Grandmother was nervous

at the thought of her son in the rough life of the goldfields - but he was keen to go and as he had not been very strong grand-
mother agreed that the open air life might be beneficial - and
he would have the protection of his elder brother who was now
26 years of age. So $10 was paid for a fare to Nelson and
David (aged 19) sailed in one of the small steamers then trading
between Dunedin and Nelson. I remember my father’s description
of this voyage and the horrors of the cockroaches in his cabin.

From Nelson he went to Hokitika, whether overland or by
ship I do not know.

Hokitika was the goldfields capital - there were over 4000
people in 1866 and the street scenes and the hundred hotels -
the variety of human beings from all corners of the world with
all their differences of nationality and character must have
been a revelation to my father coming from his quiet home in

The Commissioner on the Coast was Mr G.S. Sale - "King Sale"
the miners called him. When later he was appointed to the
Chair of Classics at the University of Otago my father was one
of his early students and many years later he became his neigh-
bour when we moved to our newly built home in Leith Street and
St David Street in 1902. The professors’ houses were just
across the street.

How much I regret that all my father’s experiences at the
Gold Diggings and also in Hobart were never written down at the
time they were told us! As children we had a nightly story
before going to bed. And every night he would say to us
"What would you like tonight?" Our reply was always the
same "Tell us about when you were a boy", and then would follow
exciting stories of Bushrangers in Tasmania or of personal
adventures on the goldfields on the West Coast. But all those
stories are now too vague to write - the only evidence of his
West Coast life is his Miner’s Right dated February 1867-68
and the receipts from the Bank of New South Wales, the Union
Bank and Bank of New Zealand for their monthly deposits of gold.
These varied from month to month - $128 in April 1867 - in.May
only $65 - then a richer yield monthly working up to $336 one

month and down to $35 in February 1869.

In all the brothers made over 1600 and.my father felt it was time for him to return to Dunedin. So John and David came home to settle down to normal life again - to invest their money wisely in buying a section of land stretching from George Street to Gt. King Street, a block further north than the family home. They built two houses on the George Street frontage and in a
few years John married Elizabeth Bremner and occupied one of
them while the other was let to a Mrs White (no relation) who
kept a private school.

Two interesting and stimulating events had happened since
their departure. The Otago Museum opposite their home in Gt.
King Street had been built and opened in 1868 and in 1869 the
first meeting of the University Council was held when it was
decided to establish three Chairs.

My father’s opportunity had come. He had money and now
could begin to prepare himself for an Entrance Examination for
the University. In the next three years of self study he was
devotedly assisted by his sister Christina, of whose patience
in hearing his work, hour after hour, my father often spoke in
later years with deep gratitude. My father never forgot her
loyalty and affectionate interest and help at this stage of
his life.

The year 1871 saw the inauguration of Otago University
and my father was on the Dunedin wharf when the s.s. "Wild Deer"
arrived in June with the first three professors on board -
Professor Sale, Professor Shand and Professor McGregor. I
think this must have been a stimulating and exciting day for
my father - his first sight of his first three professors. He
seemed very interested too in Mrs Shand as she tripped so
lightly down the gangway. He thought she looked so young to
be a professor’s wife!

In 1872 my father passed his first Teachers Examination
and was appointed Headmaster of St Leonard’s School and here I
must let his story be told in his own words in his address at
the Jubilee of the School in 1922.



Professor D.R. White, in an interesting address, told of the early days of the School, investing his remarks at times with a touch of whimsical humour that proved highly diverting to his listeners. It was in July 1872, he said, that he was appointed headmaster of the St. Leonards School. He knew nothing of the circumstances under which he was appointed, but he was told that the Education Board would provide him with a residence - all he had to do was to get furniture. In those days there were no
stores in the district where provisions could be procured, so he had to buy all his goods in Dunedin. Worse still, he had to
learn the art of cooking, and after considering his new position from all angles, he felt a little discouraged. Still, he
resolved to make the best of it, and as there were no roads or railways, he boarded the steamer "Golden Age", his belonging
being so extensive that it could easily have been imagined that the vessel was chartered specially for him. He landed at Burke’s jetty, and, leaving his impediments, set off to see if he could find the School. He was hailed by a friendly voice, and a good Samaritan procured a small boat and rowed him acrosss the bay. On
rounding the point he saw the new school for the first time. It had one room, and attached to it were two other rooms, which he was informed was the teacher’s residence. That was on a Saturday, and on the next day, much to his surprise, he saw people going to
church in the schoolhouse, and he then recognised that the
settlers in the district were men and women who had faith in the school and the Church as mediums for the formation of national character and prosperity. On the Monday he met his pupils (about 30 of them) for the first time, and they all looked very happy. He, however, was not so happy, for he did not mind confessing it after all these years - he knew nothing whatever about school
teaching. The pupils were well behaved and in this respect he had to pay a tribute to his predecessor, Mr Kyle, who had trained them so well. The day began with a reading from the Scripture

and a prayer, and then there came the singing of a hymn. He
himself had not the courage to start the singing, and he
eventually got a boy named Drake to act as precentor. This
boy, on being asked, admitted that he knew "Mothers of Salem";
unfortunately it transpired later that he knew no other, but he
led them admirably in "Mothers of Salem". He then, continued
Mr White, got everything working smoothly, and settled down to
study, but one evening he was surprised to hear a bombardment of
stones on the roof. He countered by inaugurating evening classes
and these were so well attended that there was no more stone
throwing. His weekends were mostly spent in going to Dunedin for
provisions. The Dunedin-Port Chalmers railway was opened, he
thought, in 1873, and this was a gala day for the children, as
he took them down to see the engine Josephine puffing past.
They gave three cheers for Josephine, and he then took them inside
and attempted to explain the principles of the steam engine to
them, without, he was afraid, much success. He was credibly
informed that the first freight drawn by the Josephine included
three casks of beer from Burkes Brewery, consigned to a hotel
in Port Chalmers. Salary in those days was a matter to which
he did not attach much importance; the subsidy from the Edu-
cation Board was $60 per annum, and in addition he received
teaching fees amounting to $25 or $30 during the same period,
so that he was passing rich on a little less than $100 a year -
and was perfectly happy. The first inspection of the school
carried out by Mr Hislop, the then Secretary of the Education
Board, was not at all satisfactory, and according to Mr Hislop
nothing was right, but in the following year he was so pleased
with the progress of the pupils that he granted them a half-
holiday while he and the speaker went off to town.

Shortly afterwards - in l874 - said Mr White in conclusion,
he was appointed to the Old Stone School, and the greater part
of the rest of his life was devoted to the training‘of teachers.

In 1874 my father was appointed Junior Assistant to the
North Dunedin School (later known as the Union Street School)
and for many years popularly known as "The Old Stone School".

Speaking at the 65th celebration of this school in 1927 my
father described his first sight of the school in 1862 - the year

his family arrived in Dunedin. "It was," he said, "then a
stone building of semi-ecclesiastical appearance. Three of
my sisters attended the school this year - the youngest
(Christina) spent all her life at the school as pupil - pupil
teacher and later mistress. Now I have grandchildren attending
the school. My appointment to the North Dunedin school was the
turning point in my career as it enabled me to attend classes
at the University.

On the first day I had to teach in the school I had to
face a class of 120 pupils which had been without a teacher
for 3 weeks - one could imagine the revolutionary spirit that
was in the air!"

My father and his youngest sister Christina were very
united in their interests and ambitions. They were both
singers and Christina also wished to be a teacher. A season
of Italian opera in 1866 first awakened the interest of my
father in Grand Opera but it was a season of opera in 1872 that
stirred a new enthusiasm in the lives of brother and sister.
This was a revelation to them and was the beginning of a life-
long devotion and passion for Grand Opera. They spent night
after night at the Princess Theatre and came home to take out
the opera scores and sing through the operas. (One wonders how
my grandparents reacted to these nightly concerts!)

Now that my father was again living at home, he had more
time for study and was able to fulfil an ambition of his to have
singing lessons from Signor Carmini Morli who had remained in
Dunedin from the opera company of 1866 and was now established
as a successful teacher. But the only time father could be
fitted into Morli’s crowded timetable of lessons was ll o’clock
at night! Morli’s interest naturally was in Italian Opera and
he had no difficulty in assembling a group of pupils who had
the voices and musical ability to be soloists in a performance
of Verdi’s "Il Trovatore" - among these were Mary (soprano) and
Bessie (contralto), Hume, daughter of Dr Hume of Hume’s Asylum
(also sisters of Fergus Hume - the author of "The Mystery of the
Hansom Cab" - a popular novel).

My father was selected for the role of Ferrando, but after
attending rehearsals he reluctantly had to give up the perfor-

mances as he was too busy preparing for his entrance examination
to the University. But the experience developed in him his
inborn dramatic gift and many a time he sang to us as children
with appropriate introduction the arias of Ferrando and the
Contedi Luna.

The next four years of my father’s life were very busy
ones - teaching, preparing himself for entrance to the University
and taking a prominent part in promoting and developing
educational societies in connection with the teaching profession.

In 1873 a commission had been appointed by the Provincial
Government to examine in to the teaching in the Boys’ High School.
This led to a resolution proposed by Mr (later Sir Robert) Stout
and passed by the Provincial Government in 1873 "to set up a
Normal School and Training College for teachers in Dunedin".
Plans were prepared for this school in 1874 and a large brick
building was erected in Moray Place. This combined building
was opened in 1876 under the first Rector - Mr W.S. Fitzgerald
and the first Headmaster, Mr J.R. Montgomery.

Two years later - in February 1878 - the foundation stone
of the present University buildings in Castle.Street was laid by
the Hon. H.S. Chapman. My father was an intensely interested
spectator at this ceremony, listening with keen attention to the
speeches of Rev. Dr Stuart, Mr Robert (later Sir) Stout, Rev.
Will and Mr Justice Williams whose speech was evidently the
outstanding one of the occasion - it made a lasting impression
on my father. All his life he spoke with deep respect and
admiration of Mr Justice (later Sir Joshua) Williams.

In this year (1878) also, my father was appointed first
assistant to the William Street School - the headmaster was Mr
J.B. Park under whom my mother had had her training as a teacher.
At the Jubilee Celebrations of this school several ex-pupils of
my father paid tribute to his teaching - his original methods of
teaching arithmetic and geography - "Stimulating their young
minds not only to work accurately but to work out their problems
as quickly as possible. It was not long before our class became
well known among business men of Dunedin and Mr White was
frequently asked to selected a boy who was leaving school, to
enter one of the larger offices of the city. This fact, of

course, added greatly to his influence - positions in such offices
were not then easy to obtain". This speaker concluded - "I have
always counted it one of the privileges of my life that I received
my early education at the hands of Mr White".

And ’one of his girls’ adds: "Mr White was the most thorough,
most interesting and most lovable teacher I ever had". (The
Jubilee Magazine)

1878 saw the inauguration of the Otago Educational Institute
- in this my father took a leading part. Professor John Shand
was elected first President and my father the first Secretary.
Dr John Shand who took an active interest in every branch of
Education in those years was asked to give the inaugural address.

The following year (1879) my father became a student of the
University of Otago and completed his first year’s terms. In
October of this year my father (as secretary of the Otago
Educational Institute) forwarded the following resolution to the
University Council -

"That in the opinion of this Institute a Chair of English
Language and Literature in the Otago University would lend very
much to the advancement of education and would be of great
benefit to students intending to become teachers." (Two years
later Professor Mainwaring Brown was appointed to the Chair of
English Language and Literature and Political Economy - Consti-
tutional History).

While my father was in his second year (1880) at the Univer-
sity he was asked by the Education Board to take charge of an
unruly class (Standards 5 & 6) at the Union Street School. This
evidently took some persuasion as he was very happy in his work
under the headmastership of Mr Park and no doubt his growing
friendship with one of the teachers, Miss Ida Spedding, was an
added attraction to stay.

I quote from the Jubilee Magazine of the Union Street School
a tribute from Mr Peter-Stewart who was later headmaster of the
school and had been a pupil in Standard VI when my father took

charge of this class - "By special request from the Education Board Mr White gave up a similar position in William Street School to take charge of a set of unmanageable young rascals in Standards 5 & 6, who had proved too much for two teachers".

Mr Stewart knew - for he was in that class. "Mr White did
not want to come but on being pressed he yielded and like Caesar
‘he came he saw - he conquered’. There was nothing wrong with
the lads, but they wanted a fair deal. Mr White gave it and
they responded without firing a shot. Mr White was a great
teacher - he was and is a great personality.

In 1881 at the close of its annual conference in June of
the Otago Educational Institute it was moved "That the office
bearers take measures to extend its sphere of usefulness by
making it a Colonial instead of a Provincial Institute".
Four years had transpired since the members of the Institute
held their first meeting and the local branches of the Institute
in Otago were showing signs of activity.

At this conference the address by Mr J.R. Montgomery,
headmaster of the Normal School was characterised by the
Secretary (Mr White) as "worthy of a Chair of Education at the

In 1882 sister and brother suffered a deep grief in the
sudden death of their mother, Agnes Renfrew White. She was
the centre of the home and family life - a great support to her
rather unambitious husband - a practical help in the housekeeping
with her clever fingers to add to the family budget - and a
great incentive to her son and daughter in their ambition to be
teachers. My father was 35 years of age when she died and I think
he missed her so much that he found in my mother another strong
character with similar ideals.

During this year my father’s and mother’s friendship was
developing, their enthusiasm for music drawing them closer.
Musical evenings took place then in grandfather Spedding’s
large home in Manor Place and father’s infectious enthusiasm
for Italian opera had the whole family and friends taking part
in the Anvil Chorus from "Il Trovatore" when grandfather Spedding
became so involved in the excitement that he seized the fire

irons to give a more realistic effect for the sound of the anvil.
It is difficult to imagine my grandfather entering in to this
scene - he always seemed to us to be so dignified and aloof!

On April 2nd, 1883 my parents announced their engagement.

In 1883 a meeting was held in Wellington to form the New
Zealand Educational Institute - Mr Worthington was elected the
first President and Mr D. White the first Secretary. Mr White
(Secretary of the Otago Educational Institute) was called upon
to describe the operations of the Otago Educational Institute -
"In Otago, 18 years ago, an association was formed but had only
one year’s existence. Then followed the Schoolmasters
Association composed chiefly of Dunedin residents. Five years
ago, owing to the exertions of Mr W.S. Fitzgerald, the Otago
Institute was formed." At the dinner later the toast of the
Primary schools was coupled with the name of Mr White and the
editorial notes wrote "We think great praise is due to Mr White
and Mr Cape-Williamson - the able and earnest secretaries of
the Otago and Canterbury Institutes."

In 1883 at the third ceremony of conferring of degrees at
Otago University with the Rev. Dr Roseby presiding, my father
was among the list of graduates for the degree of B.A.

The next year 1884, my father gained the degree of M.A. with
Honours in Political Science. He was Prizeman in Professor
McGregor’s class in Mental and Moral Philosophy. (This prize,
"Cairne’s Political Economy" is now housed in the library of
the University of Otago)

Professor McGregor was, I think, the hero of my father’s
young manhood as he was to most of his students - a great teacher
who stimulated their minds to wide reading and study and judgment.
The brilliance of his mind and teaching was a revelation to these
young men. Sir Robert Stout as an earlier student of his
spoke of him "as one who stirred our souls to search for wisdom
and Knowledge".

On April 2nd 1884 my parents were married by the Rev. Dr
Waddell and the Rev. Dr Stuart at the home of my Grandfather

Spedding in Manor Place. It was a great event in the lives of
the sister of the bride and the nieces of the bridegroom. Each
one of these received a present of a silver brooch with a stone
inset from the bridegroom. I remember these being worn by
several of my aunts in later years.

The home already built after my father’s return from the
goldfields was enlarged by the addition of two more rooms and a
bow window and a verandah, and was ready for my parents to settle
into after their honeymoon in Oamaru. On the day of their
return they were entertained to dinner in their own home by my
mother’s sisters and father’s sister Chris. In the centre of
the table was a handsome silver epergne - a welcome home present
from Auntie Chris. Grandfather White had contributed his own
workmanship - a kitchen table and a dresser. And in the bedroom
over the mantelpiece a welcome to her new home by her husband -
an enlarged photograph of my Grandmother Spedding - the mother
my mother had lost and mourned for long. (She had died in child-
birth with her eleventh child).

In August of this year 1884 the Annual Meeting of the Otago
Educational Institute was held in the Oddfellows’ Hall, Stuart
Street - the Annual Dinner at the Coffee Palace with 300 present
at the Conversazione later. The President elected was Mr Milne
(Headmaster of Caversham School) and the Secretary (re-elected)
Mr D. White - (these were also elected to attend the Council
Meeting of the N.Z.Educational Institute to be held in January
l885). In January 1885 my father, accompanied by his wife, her
sister Amy Spedding and his youngest sister Christine, left for
the Conference in Auckland. It was characteristic of my parents
to wish to share their first holiday after their marriage with
their favourite sisters. They.often spoke of this experience,
travelling by ’steamboat’ with the other delegates from Dunedin
and Christchurch and enjoying their sisters’ pleasure and excite-
ment on their first trip from home; There was entertainment
provided also in social gatherings besides the serious business
of meetings.

One subject for discussion was "On using the Rod" introduced
by Rev. T. Flavell - my father’s contribution was "that he had
found that small classes could be effectually ruled by moral

suasion - although the rod was probably necessary for unruly
members of large classes". My father moved "that Inspectors
should be appointed from persons with large experience of
Teachers’ work - not as in England from men with high
University degrees".

Another motion passed was "that teachers should achieve
an A.I. Certificate in Teaching only with an Honours (1st or
2nd class) degree." My father was the first teacher in N.Z.
to receive this - an A.I. Certificate.

My parents had thought.of visiting the world famous Pink
and White Terraces before their return to Dunedin, but decided
that they would have the opportunity of seeing these in the.
future and left for home. The following year the historic
eruption of Tarawera and the tragic destruction of the Terraces
left them with a life-long regret for their missed opportunity.

My father was new at the beginning of 1885 still 1st
assistant at the Union Street School. The Inspectors annual
report on his work that year was almost a replica of all previous
years. Mr Petrie wrote "Mr White’s class lately passed an
excellent examination." His control is very good and he easily
secures the best exertions on the part of his pupils."

My father was now ready for a higher position and applied
for several vacant headmasterships in the city and suburban
schools, but was unsuccessful in each case. He was seriously
considering, after several disappointments, giving up teaching
and entering Law.

He must have been encouraged and gratified this year when
the Otago Educational Institute on his retiring from the position
of Secretary presented him with an illumlnated address "in
recognition of his services to education".

"Sir - At the late Annual Meeting of the Otago Educational
Institute held in Dunedin, it was unanimously resolved that the
Institute should convey to you its sense of the valuable service you
have rendered to it from its first establishment to the time when
you retired from the position of Secretary to the Institute in

January of the present year (1885). For several years you acted
as Secretary to the Otago Schoolmasters’ Association and when
that Association was merged into the more comprehensive Otago
Educational Institute - a body which owes its existence largely
to the active interest you took in its foundation - you continued
for eight years to discharge the onerous duties of secretary.
On the establishment of the N.Z. Educational Institute you were
appointed its secretary - a position for which your natural
business aptitude and experience acquired in administrating the
affairs of the smaller Institute rendered you eminently qualified.
Owing to the demand made upon your leisure by the duties devolving
upon you as secretary of the New Zealand Institute you have found
yourself compelled to resign your-position as secretary to the
Otago Educational Institute, much to the regret of the members
They cannot allow you to resign without conveying to you their
sense of the zeal you have displayed in the cause of Education
in Otago, the singular administrative power with which you so
happily and harmoniously managed all the affairs of the Institute;
and the urbanity and courtesy which have marked your personal and
official intercourse with your fellow teachers throughout
the Province."

This address was signed by several of the first headmasters
in Dunedin and was in the possession of the Otago Educational
Institute as a memento of their first secretary - but now is
housed in the Hocken Library. ‘

In 1885 my father was promoted by the Otago Education Board
to the position of Headmaster of the Normal School in Moray Place
and also Lecturer in English to the students of the Training
College. This must have made him realise that teaching was after
all to be his life work - and that in time the appointment to the
rectorship of the Training College would follow.

In 1887 at the conference of the N.Z. Educational Institute
held in Christchurch under the Presidency of Mr George Hogben, my
father was elected President for 1887-1888.

In 1885 on December 4 my parents had their first sorrow - the
death of a little daughter - stillborn. In 1887 I came into the
world and soon this story will have some personal memories - but

not quite yet. In 1888 the first son in the "White" family -
so far all the grandchildren had been daughters - was born.
But with James Renfrew (called after his grandfather and
grandmother) and David Renfrew in 1890 my grandfather had the
joy of knowing he had two grandsons before he died later
in the year. He was heard to be whistling and singing at his
work all day.

In November 1888 a public meeting was held in Dunedin "for
promoting the education of the youths of the city by means of
evening classes - Mr Alexander Burt was elected President,
Mr G.M. Thomson, Secretary and among the names of the committee
selected were Mr W.S. Fitzgerald, D. White, M.A., and Alexander
Wilson M.A. There were 100 members present. Free use of
the classrooms in the Normal School was granted and the Dunedin
Technical Classes Association opened in May 1889 with 283

My father, as a Committee member, kept his interest and
association with the Technical School until his retirement from
professional life in 1912. In this year also, after a public
address at St Andrew’s Church by Sir William Jervois on Kinder-
garten work (at which my father was present), a Kindergarten
Association was formed. My father became a member and for many
years was on the Advisory Board and also acted as examiner in
students’ work.

The sudden disappearance and death of Professor Mainwaring
Brown (Professor of English and Constitutional History) while on
a walking expedition in Otago with a party of friends in
December 1889 was the first tragedy in the history of the
University. At the Annual Meeting of Convocation of the
University the Chairman (Mr D. White) paid a tribute to the
late professor. In 1892 at a meeting of Convocation my
father was elected to a seat on the Council of the University
of Otago as the first representative of graduates.

With the birth of a fourth child - Mackenzie John - on
January 2, 1893 my father bought another house, still in George

Street but a block further south. This house had been owned by Mr Harrep who was known for his generous gifts to St. Paul’s
Cathedral. We moved on April 2nd of that year - the 9th anni-
versary of my parents’ wedding day. This was s spacious house
with more bedrooms and larger reception rooms - these latter
being necessary for the yearly entertaining of father’s Training
College students as he had been appointed Principal in 1892 - also
for the many parties mother loved giving. Although too young
to take part in these gatherings I can remember the excitement
for us children to see the decorated supper table and the fun
of stealing out of bed and peeping round the door as the guests
arrived and went into the next room to leave their wraps. These
were the scenes of our happy young childhood. I was six - Jim
five, David three and Jack a few months. And it was a happy
childhood when we were all closely associated with our parents.
Father played with us so much and introduced us to his own
hobbies and interests. He was an exciting father. Not only
did he come down to our level by playing "policeman" and having
all our young friends running shrieking round the house in great
excitement an our children’s parties, but he could later get us
out of bed at night to see an eclipse of the moon. Whatever
father was interested in he drew us with corresponding enthusiasm
to enter into also

Even his earlier life became our experiences - those famous
singers and the opera singers he had heard became household
names. He built a small summer house for us to play in with
table and forms where we spent wet days and had a view of the
harbour and the steamers sailing up and down.

I have special memories of the garden which was father’s
first interest - to get that planted with his favourite flowers -
at that time narcissi, particularly in many varieties. Later
he built garden seats, each different and names Spring, Summer,
Autumn, Winter according to the position each was situated in
the sun at the season of the year. Then to cultivate the vinery
with its Black Hamburg and green grapes. Often as we grew a
little older we were allowed to take a bunch of choice grapes
to our teacher. How proud he were to take them in a special
grape basket.

But of all the memories of that home I seem to remember
with special pleasure was that of Sunday evening, our special
family hour. In the big dining room, in a circle round a
blaring fire in e fireplace with its brown velvet mantel drape
with poppies and marguerites painted on it (the work of Mrs
L.W. Wilson) we sat on the rug while mother and father were in
their armchairs on each side. Here we listened for many Sundays
to father’s reading us the story of Bunyan’s "Pilgrims Progress".
What an enthralling story! Read by my father it took on real
character and we entered in with excitement. We lived with
the family of Christian through all those adventures. But what
sorrow when the book ended and Christian and his family crossed
the river to be welcomed by the Heavenly choir singing "Holy
Holy Holy"! .That is a special memory - no other book he ever
read has left such a lasting memory.

After we had had a years residence at 260 George Street
father’s sister Christina came to live with us. She had been
left alone in the family home in Gt. King Street after the
death of her father and when the house was sold she had had to
go into lodgings where she was very unhappy. Auntie Chris (as
she was known) brought new interests into our lives with her
numerous artistic gifts - singing, painting, photography - and
her wonderful understanding of children in her imaginative
games. She was then Infant Mistress at Union Street School.
She accompanied my parents to the weekly practices of the Dunedin
Choral Society and took singing lessons from Mrs Wm. Murphy all
the years she lived with us.’

At the beginning of the century 1900 with the growing
family the house once again was too small, and father had for
some time been keeping watch over a.property at the corner of
St. David and Leith Streets, opposite the Professors’ houses.
This was ideally situated for view and sunshine, and when the
owner of the cottage on the section died father was successful
in buying the property. He arranged with his brother John
who was a contractor to design a d build a large two storeyed
brick residence which was finished in 1902 and once again the
date of our removal was the anniversary of my parents’ wedding
day, the 18th, April 2, 1902.

But before the house was finished building we had our
first experience of death in our family circle. This was the
sudden death of Auntie Chris while on her annual painting
holiday at Lake Manapouri. A terrible shock and grief to us
all, especially to my father. They had been so united for
years in their mutual interests and it was long before he could
be reconciled to her loss

We were now older children - I was fourteen, Jim thirteen,
David twelve and Jack nine. Jim and I already at secondary
school. This house was the scene of many parties and recep-
tions. The first large one at the special meeting of the
Australasian Society for the Advancement of Science in l903.
For this our guests were father’s special friends Dr Charles
Chilton and Mrs Chilton. This was my first "big" party at
which I was allowed to be present, and I can remember the names
of several of those distinguished scientists still. Shortly
after in the May holidays mother thought we should have our
first "dance" for which the large house was very suitable and
she made an "occasion" of it with musicians engaged to play
and caterers to provide. I remember that night of full moon
when between the dances partners preferred to wander about in
the garden rather than "sit out" on the stairs or remain inside.

Father used to murmur sometimes about "Fools give parties -
Wise men go to them". But this was a very mild statement. He
never stopped mother’s parties and indeed was usually the life
of them. One very memorable occasion while living in that
house was being awakened from sleep and invited out to the
balcony which had a superb view over the harbour and eastern
sky. What a dramatic moment! - our first sight of Halley’s
Comet. Sleepy as we were we were startled into wakefulness,
awestruck with the magnificence of this vision.

This was the climax to our amateur astronomical studies with
father. He had had the "Beverley" telescope on loan from the
University erected on our lawn and we were frequently called
outside to see Saturn’s Rings or Jupiter’s moons.

In 1898 ay father was appointed to the position of
Principal (or Rector as it was then called) of the Dunedin
Training College and from this year to his resignation in 1912
he was fully occupied in his work of teaching - training - not
only for city schools, but for schools in smaller towns and
country districts and single teacher schools. To give practical
experience in managing such schools a Model School was part of
the practical training of all students wherein they were able to conduct small and several classes in one room.

There was a secondary department at this time also which
carried on the work of a first year at a High School before the
introduction of "free" education in secondary schools in 1902.

The following extract from "A Brief History" of the Otago
Education Board to mark its centenary year in l956, relates the
circumstances under which my father was appointed Principal of
the Dunedin Training College.

"During the first 27 years of its life, the College had
a chequered career financially. Government assistance at the
rate of $2000 per annum commenced in l88l, but after seven years
this was reduced or cancelled each year according to the state
of the country’s finances …In 1894 owing to financial
difficulties, the Board actually considered closing the College,
but eventually found a way of carrying on by re-organisation.
It appointed the Principal (Mr Fitzgerald) to a vacancy on the
Inspectorate and it made the headmaster of the Normal school
Principal of the College with an additional 70 per annum and
the College was carried on with part-time teachers until things
improved. David Renfrew White, M.A., who had been headmaster of
the Normal School and lecturer in English at the Training College
since 1885, was the man chosen for the dual position, and this
appointment must be accounted among the most fruitful ever made
by the Board. He created a standard that other men found it
difficult to attain to. He was an effective class-room teacher,
a brilliant expositor and skilful organiser… In 1903, the
following recommendation of the Education Committee of the House
was approved by the House:-

"That a Training College for teachers be established in
each of the four University centres, and in order to avoid the
expense of duplicating instruction in subjects which are
taught at the University Colleges, and to secure for teachers
a greater breadth of view, the training of teachers in literature
and scientific work should, as far as possible, be provided by
the University Colleges."

In 1904 the Theory and History of Education became a
subject for an Arts Degree and new departmental regulations were
issued under which Training College students were required to
obtain the theoretical part of their Education at one of the
University Colleges. This necessitated the appointment of a
Lecturer on Education and my father as Principal of the Training
College was selected. As my father could not, as a member of
staff, keep his seat on the University Council, it was necessary
for him to resign the position he had held for twelve years.

As a daily lecture had to be given on this new subject
- "The History and Principles of Education" - the following
year this meant a heady load of preparation each night
in writing out lectures for the coming session. I remember how
busy his evenings were. Night after night sitting at a
favourite little table beside the fire (he preferred this to
sitting at the handsome kauri desk with its drawers that his
father had made for him) while my mother busy on the other side
of the fire kept him silent company. This picture of our home
life at the time is very vivid in my memory - in another room
sitting round the big table my three brothers studying while I
was in the drawing room at the piano. Strange that they all
agreed they could work better when they heard me playing!

In 1908 the foundation stone of a new building for the
Training College was laid on part of the site of the Union Street
School at the corner of Union and Cumberland Streets.

The Union Street School then became the Normal School
and the Practising or Model school was included here. The
new College was a spacious building in two storeys. It
contained a large auditorium - lecture rooms - science

laboratories and retiring rooms. There was also a model
Kindergarten in which my father had taken a great practical
interest in the arrangement and furnishings of the room.
The small chairs and tables for the Kindergarten children
were especially designed by him for their size. In this
same year also (1908) the University Council decided to raise
the Lectureship on Education to a Professorship and my father
though still Principal of the Training College was now
Professor of Education also.

This must have been a combination of great importance to
him, as his ideal had long been to draw the two institutions
closer. He encouraged and gave opportunity to all students to
attend University classes in order to take their degrees, "giving
them ample leave at the time of their term and degree examinations".

Indeed if he could have had his wish, it would have been to
have the Teachers College a practical school attached to and
under University control. This combination of interests -
the status of the Principal and the opening of a new college
seemed to provide a stimulation to the students of that year
in the importance of the profession they were themselves
entering and the result was the decision to publish annually
a Training College Magazine.

From the first publication in 1910 (under the joint
editorships of Miss Woodhouse and Mr M.J. Morrison) the
following extracts were taken.

(Editorial) - "The establishment of such a magazine seems to
be only in line with the general upward and progressive move-
ment that has followed our body of students since their
establishment in their new building …it to is proposed that
this publication should voice in a general way the trend of
thought concerning its inner workings as viewed by the students
themselves …the external opinion of the work done here is
generally couched in glowing terms of approbation …It is

the proud boast of Otago teachers that they receive very
favourable treatment from all Education Boards of the Dominion
and that they are looked upon as good exponents of their
profession. This feeling of self-praise has become attached to
many of them from the fact that they were trained in our College
under our able Professor - we are treated with all the con-
sideration that could be desired in the matter of University
Classes - students preparing for a degree get ample leave at
the time of their term and degree examinations".

"College News" opens - "The first thing that we college students
must do is to try to express our appreciation of our Principal -
Professor White. This can scarcely be called news, as everyone
knows the interest the Professor takes in his students past and
present. Who is it that is always willing to let bygones be
bygones? Who is it that is always anxious that we shall not
overwork ourselves, and who is also equally anxious that we
shall have enough to do? Our Principal sees we have our share
of fun in our college life - witness our social and picnics".

Under "Our College" one gets a glimpse into the daily
work of a student - "It is well known that Dunedin Training
College is one of the best institutions of its kind in New
Zealand - at least we students think so. Our Principal,
Professor White is a noted figure in educational matters in the
Dominion. Of his powers as a teacher we do not need to speak.
Every student who has any love for his future profession at
all must feel a thrill of pleasure when the Professor gives a
demonstration lesson. We must go on to tell you of the way
our College work is carried out. The students are divided into
two classes - Juniors and Seniors - or 1st and 2nd year students.
The Juniors assemble every morning in the Auditorium to take
Professor White’s notes of lessons and his lectures on school
method and management. Then it is that Junior criticism lessons
are taken. What a dreadful feeling there is in the heart of
the student who has the "Crit" when the nine o’clock bell goes!
The night before has been spent in writing the notes of the
lesson, in drawing diagrams, in getting apparatus and preparing
the questions …the lesson begins and the questions come like
magic and the student gains confidence. The professor always
encourages him and the dreaded "Crit" is soon over

The work of a Senior student is somewhat different.
For one week in a month he teaches or observes lessons in the
practising school. The next week he is free from his
teaching duties; the third week he teaches in the afternoon
for one hour and the fourth week of the month gives up his
time to study again when he is not taking lectures … The
Model school is the place to learn how to manage a country
school. The Kindergarten is useful in training lady students
how to make work pleasant to little ones. Two students are
put in to the Model school and two into the Kindergarten for
each week …All the students should have their full "C"
certificate when leaving the college. Many take their degrees
from the University of Otago, thanks to Professor White".

On June 21st, 1912 my father reached his 65th year -
retiring age. He was asked by the Education Board to stay
on in his position till the end of that year and in December
of that year he retired from active work.

The following are the tributes paid to him by students -
ex-students and fellow staff members. Farewell functions and
leading articles on his retirement from "The Otago Daily
Times" and "The Evening Star".

Editorial - Dunedin Training College Magazine
December 1912

"What we wish to do is in some measure to express the
students’ appreciation of Professor White and the sincere
regret that all feel in parting from him.

We have learned to appreciate his genial kindness, his
tact, his unfailing sympathy, his sterling worth. He is a man
of great enthusiasms; a genuine lover of little children; a
born organiser who has proved his theories by constant
practice; "Noble in reason, infinite in faculties"; a teacher
among teachers.

He has given us noble idesls of teaching, and has ever
impressed upon us the nobility of our profession. His influence

on the teaching body of Otago is deep and abiding. Like the
prophets of old, he has stood at the head of the waters and cast
the salt in there. Our after lives must be the better for our
contact with him; our teaching will, we trust, bear witness
to his faithful and patient service. Not only has he "allured
us to brighter worlds" he has himself "led the way". Now we
stand at the parting of the ways, and as our Professor passes
from us it is the loving wish of all his students that he may
yet enjoy many years of health and happiness".

We have great pleasure in publishing tributes from the
following gentlemen, all of whom, we know, count it a high honour
to have been associated with Professor White, either as pupils
or fellow teachers.

From Dr. J.R Don - Inspector of Schools (formerly Headmaster
of Waitaki Boys’ High School).

"It is with the greatest pleasure that I add my tribute
in honour of my old chief - a man who has left an enduring mark
on the education system of New Zealand.

I first saw Mr White at the annual meeting of the Otago
Educational Institute in June or July 1880. At that time he
was secretary of the Institute. In fact it seemed to me, a
raw youth from the backblocks of Australia, that with the help
of a few enthusiasts, the secretary who ran the meetings in such
quiet and effective style was the Institute.

In those days we had a few discursive members … and I
remember how effectively the Secretary would bring such back to
the point - "Mr Chairman" he would say suavely, "may I remind
Mr … that we are discussing ’so and so’ and not ’such
and such’.

Not long ago I read the minutes of these early meetings
and find Mr White’s name as advocate of many of the advantages
we teachers now enjoy. Freedom of Classification - Control
of the syllabus by the headmaster - the advantage of organisation
among teachers - superannuation etc., all had Mr White’s strong

support, even in those early days. Indeed, teachers of the
present day hardly realize how, for many years, Mr White spent
himself in the service of his fellows

In that same old minute book appear three resolutions
that resulted in the formation of the so-called parent institute -
the N.Z. Educational Institute - with a short account of the
successful efforts made by Messrs Fitzgerald and White to stir
up enthusiasm among the teachers of the North Island

Some years later I had the privilege of working under
Mr White, when I added several new adjectives to the former
mental estimate of "quiet-effective". A few of these were,
scholarly, kindly, courteous and considerate to this junior
and to add a noun, an ideal headmaster.

In his work as headmaster of the practising school,
Mr White was never "traditional". His management showed the
true spirit of research. At a time when individuality in the
teacher was decidedly not encouraged by the syllabus, or by the
authorities, Mr White was never afraid to experiment. At the
same time thoroughness was his motto and in trying to realize
his ideals he never spared himself. I can imagine no better
training for a young teacher than a few years under such a
man". - John R. Don.

From Mr W.S. Fitzgerald (former Principal of the Otago Training

"I am pleased with the opportunity given.me by writing
a paragraph in appreciation of my friend and fellow-worker
Professor David White. Since 1861 I have been intimately
associated with New Zealand Educational life and progress and
I know of no one to whom the Dominion owes a deeper debt of
gratitude for the educational advantages offered her young
people than to Professor White. The great and beneficial
influence exercised by the N.Z. Educational Institute over the
initiation and development of the national system of education
is well known and no one knows better than I do that the success
of the Institute has been mainly due to Mr White’s indefatigable

labours as Secretary and to his forceful and wise counsels at
the periodical meetings. This should never be forgotten by
the teachers of New Zealand…"

From Mr J A Johnston (Principal of the Training College, Hobart)

"The teaching profession in Otago has been fortunate in
attracting to its ranks many men of exceptional power and force
of character, and it may be truly said that no one in the
Province has stood higher in the estimation of his fellow-
workers than Professor David White. His career has been an
ideal one; he has passed through all grades to the highest
position his own University could confer upon him - Professor
of Education. At every step he was a marked man: two head-
masters, to my own personal knowledge, lamented, when he left
their schools, that they did not know where to look for a
successor. He created a standard that other men found it very
difficult to attain to …It was my good fortune to become
closely associated with Mr White as his First Assistant Master
in the old Normal School. It was a great pleasure to work
under his direction; all was well planned, systematic,
regular; the inspiration of the Head permeated every corner
of the building, becoming reflected alike in pupil and in
teacher. The training under him imbued one with the supreme
qualities of method and system…"

From Mr William Gray (formerly Principal of Wellington Training
College and later Headmaster of Presbyterian Ladies College,

"It is not too much to say that at a critical juncture in
its history, Professor White saved the Training College for
Otago; and it may be further truly said that the training
system of New Zealand, as it is today linked to the University
Colleges, is largely the creation of his brain. To put the
professional training of teachers on the same basis as the
training for other professions, is an ideal that Professor
White has kept before him for years, and it has been given
him in large measure to realize it.

Speaking more personally of him I may say - and it
seems like presumption to say it - Professor White has adorned
the profession of his choice; he has given it the devoted
service of a life time. His unfailing courtesy, even to the
dullest, his inspiring and kindly methods, his interest in his
scholars and students long after they had passed out of his
hands; the thoroughness of his work; the catholicity of his
outlook and the breadth of his sympathies; his dogged pursuit
of what he believed to be right - a gentleman always, a man
amongst men, a student amongst students, a formidable antagonist
and a staunch friend. Such is the man whom all his students
learned to trust and admire with a trust and admiration that
grew and strengthened throughout the years of more intimate

On Monday, December l6th, l9l2 the Junior and Senior
students of the Training College met to farewell Professor
White - accompanying presentation of gifts was the following
appreciation from the Students’ Association -

"It would be quite futile even to attempt to enumerate
those qualities of our Professor, which have so endeared him to
his students. They are known best to the heart of each one of
us. His able counsel and willing help so willingly bestowed
upon those who were in need of it, his battles and struggles
with the powers that be, so often carried out by him on our
behalf and the interest and affection which he showed for us,
together with his kindly bearing - all these have gone to make
Professor White a power in moulding the lives of all those who
have sat at his feet …it is our sincere hope that, as in the
past, the Professor should continue to take a keen interest
both in education in general and the students in particular.
We wish Professor White a long and peaceful retirement and may
he live in the best of health to a good old age".

Training College - Farewell to Professor White

The Hon. T. Fergus (Chairman Education Board) presided.
Among those present were Rev. A. Cameron (Chancellor of Otago

University) Professors Shand, Gilray, Park, Messrs G. E. Thompson,
T. D. Adams, lnspectors C.R. Richardson & Bossence, Dr. Don P,
Goyen, W. Fitzgerald, Messrs W.J. Morrell (Rector 0.B.H.S.),
A. Marshall (Principal Technical College), M. Cohen (Editor
"Evening Star"), E. Pinder and G. C. Israel, R. Hawcridge.

Professor White read his report - "Today I sever my
connection with an institution with which I have been connected
for the past 27 years. Some 50 or 60 students pass out of the
college every year and from that fact you may get some idea of
the number of students with whom I have been associated in my
professional career.

To those students I would like to say that I have tried
earnestly to lead you to be interested in your pupils and your
work. But if you do not love children, if you do not like
teaching, then I say - leave the profession and find more con-
genial occupation. Again, your duties as public servants do
not end with school work. Many of you will take up professional
duties very soon and you ought to take some share in the
institutional life of the community in which you are placed.
The teacher may do much, not in an obtrusive way, but in a
spirit of sympathy and co-operation for and with the parents
and with the people. My thanks are due to the students of the
Otago Training College for the deference they have shown to my
wishes, for the cordial feeling that has pervaded our daily
intercourse and work. The memory of my work in the college
will remain with me in my retirement as a sustaining and abiding
possession. I wish you all success in life, and by success I
mean a consciousness that you have tried to do your best in the
interest of your fellow-workers in whatever sphere of life falls
to your lot.

I should like to call the attention of all teachers,
students and probationers to the new regulations offering
greater facilities for University training. University
bursaries are offered to all teachers who hold the ’C’ Certifi-
cate. Teachers should take advantage of this splendid oppor-
tunity for further education. (loud applause)

The Chairman (Hon. T. Fergus) said he was there with very
great pleasure indeed, and he-would go a long distance to
honour one to whom they would all do honour, he hoped,
through the whole of their lives. Mr White had not been
a hireling and, though he had given them some good advice
that morning, he had done by example far more than he had
done by precept. Wherever they went throughout Otago or
New Zealand, men and women who had been brought under the
influence of Mr White spoke in the highest terms of his kind
sympathy and good heartedness and the great aid he had given
them in difficult and in trying circumstances … No one
regretted more than he did the fact of Mr White’s retiring
from the principalship of the College where he had done such
excellent service. During the last 18 of his 27 years
connection with the Normal School he had been at its head and
if anyone thoroughly deserved a rest after his arduous labours
it was Professor White. It should be a great pleasure to the
Professor to see such a number of distinguished educationists
around him, everyone of whom honoured him in his heart and
would welcome his counsel and guidance as the ripe fruit of
wisdom gathered after so many years of hard experience and
labour. He had very great pleasure in proposing a very
hearty vote of thanks to Professor White and confidence in
him - a man whose one object in life was to do his best for
his follow men.

Professor White, in returning thanks, said that he felt
that the chairman, from his position, was speaking with a
certain amount of authority in the kind references he had
made. He drew attention to the fact that they saw before
them what he did not expect they would ever have the privilege
of seeing again. They had with them the past Rector of the
Training College - his friend Mr Fitzgerald (applause) - the
present Rector and the future Rector (Mr Pinder) (applause).
He had no fear whatever that the future prospects of the

college would not be as bright as they were now, or had been in
the past. He referred to the kind and appreciative messages
he had received from the inspectors…He proceeded to pay a
high tribute to Dr. Don and to his old teacher Professor Shand
for the great services he had rendered to secondary and
University education in the Dominion…"

Chief Inspector Richardson said his colleagues had asked him on
their behalf to say a few words of farewell to Professor White.
That day marked a distinct line of cleavage in the educational
history of Otago, in that, by the retirement of Professor White,
they were losing the last of those able men to whose persistence,
foresight and thoroughness the fine educational history of Otago
was due. The high econiums that had been passed on Professor
White had been well and truly earned. He went into retirement
leaving behind him a splendid record of work, with the love of
his old pupils and his present students (applause), the esteem
of his fellow-workers and the respect of the whole community.

Dr. Shand said he had been associated with Professor White in a
greater variety of ways than had been most of those present.
He recalled the marked ability and sterling character shown by
the Professor in his student days, which led his teachers to
expect a great future for him. He referred also to his
association with Professor White on the Education Board and said
that in every aspect he found him a man whom he could respect
and admire.

Rev, Andrew Cameron, as Chancellor of the Otago University said
he had known Professor White since they were students together
and had also been Intimately associated with him on the Council
of the University, where Professor White had been one of the
most progressive members. They owed to him a great deal of the
closeness of‘the connection between the University and the
Training College.

"A Veteran Educatlonist" (From "The Evening Star", Saturday,
December-14, 19l2.)

Social to Professor White

About one hundred or more representatives of the
teaching profession, besides public men met in the Art Gallery
Hall last night to tender a social to Professor White on his
retirement from active educational work. The farewell, which
was primarily organised by the educational section of the
community, was attended, among others, by representatives of
the Education Department (Dr. Anderson), Otago Education
Board (Messrs Mitchell, Israel and S.M. Park), Technical School
(Messrs Scott and Marshall), University Council (Rev. A, Cameron
and Mr W. Morrell), Training College (Mr E. Pinder), and the
New Zealand Educational Institute. There were also present
headmasters of the various public schools. In fact, the
assemblage might have been likened to an "Educational Symposium".
Mr W.A. Service (President of the Otago Educational Institute)
was Chairman.

The first of the relative toasts was "The Education
Department" proposed by Mr Eudy and responded to by Dr.
Anderson. Other important subsidiary toasts were "The Otago
Educational Institute" by Mr G.W. MacDonald and replied to by
Mr James Jeffrey; the "University and the Technical School"
by Mr E. Pinder and replied to by Rev A. Cameron and Mr A.
Marshall .

Dr. Anderson in proposing the main toast "Our guest and
the Training College" referred to the early days of the Training
College, its growth and to the good work it had accomplished.
He traced also Professor White’s history briefly for the 40 years
of his educational career, and concluded his toast with eulogistic
reference to the guest of the evening. Dr. Anderson’s next duty
was to present to Professor White a travelling rug, a pair of
field glasses and a handsome ring, the gifts of past and present
members of the teaching profession. He also presented Professor
White with two handbags, one for Mrs White and one for Miss

Professor White, on rising to reply, was received with
loud applause. He would like to thank them for having brought
together such a representative gathering of educational bodies,

which he took as a very real personal compliment and he would
also like to thank them for organising so pleasant a social
function. He went on to comment on the fact that almost
every educational body was represented at the gathering and
expressed his gratitude for the assistance he had received
from those bodies.

He had to thank them for the numerous gifts he saw
before him. If there was one thing that gave him.more pleasure
than another, it was at finding that the committee had thought
of his wife and daughter. Speaking to the teachers, he said
it was their work to build up the character of the future
citizens of Dunedin …The lines of his life had fallen in
happy places, and his one wish was that when they laid aside
their robes of office and their professional duties they might
be surrounded by friends and might be in the enjoyment of good
health and be content (loud applause).

The Inspector General of Schools (Mr George Hogben) wrote as
follows to the Secretary of the Presentation Committee - "I am
exceedingly sorry that, owing to the Minister’s departure for
Europe, I shall be unable to be present that evening at the
meeting to bid farewell to Professor White. It would have
given me great pleasure, in response to your kind invitation,
to have made the presentation that is proposed. Will you
kindly excuse my absence? The retirement of one who has
occupied so many high positions in the educational world of
New Zealand with such distinguished ability and such unflagging
industry and faithful service is no ordinary occasion, and the
gratitude of the nation can be most fitly expressed by the
enthusiastic plaudits of his comrades in the noble profession
of teaching, who know best the difficulties of the work he has
done, the lifelong sacrifice thereby involved, and the permanent
benefits conferred upon the whole community by his efforts…"

From the Evening Star, Saturday, December 14, 1912 (Leading

"After Forty Years"

The retirement of Professor White from the position of
Principal of the Dunedin Training College and Professor of

Education at the Otago University is an event of considerable
importance in the history of education in this province.

From the position of sole teacher in,a small school at
St. Leonards, which 40 years ago was a "bush settlement", the
Professor climbed the educational ladder, step by step, until
he reached the topmost rung. His influence has been felt in
every branch of educational work. From its inception he had
taken a keen interest in the Free Kindergarten Association
and today is to be found a Kindergarten department in
connection with the Training College, the Principal-ship of
which he is vacating.

Technical, Secondary and University education have all
benefited largely by his labours. It is, however, in
connection with the public primary schools of the Dominion
that the influence of Professor White has been most power-
fully felt.

Thirty years ago, largely owing to his efforts, the
New Zealand Educational Institute was established. As
first Secretary and later President and member of the
Executive Committee of this body, he took an active interest
in its work and now has the satisfaction of knowing that it
has a membership of some 3,000, that it is recognised by the
State as an important part of the educational machinery, and
that it has been instrumental in bringing about many of the
educational reforms that have been given effect to since it
came into existence. As Principal of the Dunedin Training
College for 20 years, he has passed through his hands hundreds
of students who now fill positions not only in Otago, but
also in every district in the Dominion, as well as in
Australia. lt is, we believe, safe to say that no other man
in New Zealand has impressed his personality and individuality
upon the teaching service of the Dominion to a greater extent
than Professor White. Loving his profession, he has preached,
and practised the gospel of work - loyal, enthusiastic
thorough work - and it is, we believe, the influence of this
preaching and practice that has made Otago teachers to be
sought after, and that accounts, to a large extent, to the
fact that so many of them today fill important positions
outside the bounds of this education district. Otago and the

whole of New Zealand owe much to men like Professor White, and
it was fitting that such a large and thoroughly representative
gathering should have assembled last evening to do honour to
the Professor and to wish him many years of happiness in his
retirement. Professor White is still thoroughly fit, both
mentally and physically, and we trust that his valuable services
will not be lost to the community but that he will continue to
take an active interest in the administrative work of our

"Otago Daily Times - Saturday, December 14, l9l2. (Leading

A Representative Educationist"

"The reminder that the old order changes is not always
particularly welcome. In whatever light it may be viewed, the
retirement of Professor White from the position of Principal
of the Dunedin Training College is an event of very considerable
interest in local educational circles. The complimentary
gathering at which the retiring principal was entertained last
evening was most noteworthy in the degree in which it was
representative of the educational profession in general, and
in such an aspect was a speaking tribute to the esteem in
which the guest is held among the teachers in Otago. He is
perhaps the most representative educationist in this provincial
district, which rather prides itself, it is to be remembered,
on the importance it attaches to an educational equipment.
The positions which Professor White has filled have contributed
to give him this distinction, together with the fact that his
scholastic labours have been devoted over a long period of time
entirely to the service of this educational district.

ln the course of forty years’ active work a teacher
of Professor White’s calibre could not fail to exert a wide
influence upon the many with whom he came into mental contact.
As a schoolmaster, as a teacher of teachers, and latterly also
as a Professor of Education, the responsibility of his
scholastic duties has been heavy, and his students must one

and all have been impressed with the high ideal of the
teaching profession which he kept always before him. The
fact that primary education, the education of the public school
has been the great sphere of his activity, has enlarged rather
than circumscribed the scope of his usefulness. For nearly
twenty years he has occupied the position of Principal of the
Training College, and during that time hundreds of students,
representing without a doubt a very large proportion of the
Otago teachers of today, apart from those who have gone further
afield, have come under his influence, absorbing under his
guidance those principles and precepts of education and school
method which have been the basis of their professional equip-
ment. No more convincing suggestion of the importance of the
work of a Principal of a Training College is needed than is
offered in the reflection that its influence permeates even to
the humblest back-block schoolroom. As the guide and friend
of Otago teachers for many years, Professor White has been
himself quite an educational institution.

As lecturer on Education, and subsequently Professor of
that subject, he has carried his useful labours to the somewhat
higher field of University life, and previously he was, for a
number of years, the valued representative of the graduates
as a member of the University Council.

His services in fostering the establishment of the New
Zealand Educational Institute and that of the Dunedin Technical
Classes Association, are but additional instances of what
Professor White has done for educational agencies in Otago and
New Zealand. The pedagogic life which Professor White has
lived so fully has for the enthusiast a very strenuous side that
is not always appreciated by the superficial observer, and its
compensations are not easily earned. In one of his essays
Charles Lamb tells an amusing story of a tete-a-tete he had in
a stage coach with a well informed individual whom he after-
wards guessed to be a modern schoolmaster, and his own verbal
dlscomfiture inspired him to soliloquize "Rest to the souls of
those fine old Pedagogues; the breed, long since extinct, of
the Lilys and the Linacres; who, believing that all learning
was contained in the languages which they taught, and despising

every other requirement as superficial and useless, came to
their task as to a sport!"

But the qualifications of the schoolmaster of his day
at which Lamb marvelled must have been modest enough compared
with those of the schoolmsster of our time. "It is not for
nothing that the old order changes".

* * * * * * * * *
A C K N 0 W L E D G E M E N T S

I am indebted to the following -

The N.Z. Schoolmaster - N.Z. Journal of Education
The Teachers’ College Magazine (1912)
Education in N.Z. (1929) (A.G. Butchers)
The Control of Education in N.Z. (L.C.Webster)
Local Authority & Educational Development (1877-1899
Dr. J.D.S. McKenzie)

I should like to acknowledge also the privilege of getting
some of my material from the Mitchell Library in Sydney -
the Archives Section of the Public Library, Hobart - the
Hocken Library, Dunedin, and the University of Otago

To the Librarians of each of these Libraries I wish to
express my gratitude.

Also to Mrs Jocelyn Ryburn my appreciation of her kindness
in drawing the sketches of Edinburgh Castle and of Otago
University Clock Tower, so appropriate in marking the
scenes of the opening and closing of my father’s life.

I wish, lastly, to express my thanks to Miss Jean Hendry
who so kindly read my MSS and encouraged me by her
experience and judgment.


Renfrew House,
114 St.David Street,

Part II follows with his voyage to Great Britain
round Cape Horn, a selection of his letters from
London in 1913 and 1914 - the outbreak of the
"Great War" - the voyage home in wartime and
return to Dunedin in 1915 and his life in Dunedin
until his death in 1937 at the age of 90.

Rossbotham’s Typing Service

1847 - 1937

Part II
1913 - 1937

Voyage on "Tainui"

As the time for my father’s retirement drew near, my mother
was feeling a little concerned as to how this sudden ending to
his long active life would affect him. He would miss not only
the stimulation of his work, but also his contact with his staff
and students in whom he was so interested - the regularity of
his day - his walk to College - the walk home to lunch and back
again to College - the lecture at the University after College
had finished and the regular meetings of many educational societie
and institutions with which he was connected. All these would
come to a sudden end and how were his future days to be spent?
He was still a young and vigorous man mentally and physically and
must have interests to stimulate and keep him active. And he
would be better away for sometime from the scene of his activities.

My mother thought of a complete change which would provide
new interests and opportunities for study, stimulating but not
so strenuous a life as the professional one of the past forty
years. She proposed an extended visit to England and taking
up residence in London for sometime. Fortunately this appealed
to my father, all the more so as my eldest brother, James Renfrew,
was already living in London. He had qualified in Medicine at
Otago University at the end of 1911 and had in 1912 gone to
London for postgraduate study and was already in residence as a
House Surgeon in Paddington Green Children’s Hospital. We
should settle down and have a home in London and share with my
brother the many interests he and my father had in common.
Arrangements were made for my two younger brothers, David Renfrew
and Mackenzie John, to go into residence at Knox College in 1913
and plans were quickly made and passages booked for my parents
and myself to sail early in 1913 from Wellington per S.S. Tainui
for London via Cape Horn.

A pleasant surprise on boarding "Tainui" for my father was
to be greeted by an ex-pupil of his from the Union Street School,
Captain Thomas Moffat, who was in charge of the ship. His
kindness added to the pleasure of the voyage.

The route via Cape Horn in those days before the opening of
the Panama Canal was a long one of six weeks. It was no pleasure
trip for the first weeks as we steamed steadily south, the days
getting colder and the seas rougher, with terrible storms and

mountainous waves when no one could go on deck and the ship seemed
often as if it would be engulfed as it plunged down into the trough of
the waves and then rose on the crest to repeat this experience  time
after time. But our little party of three kept up our spirits and
were perhaps a little proud of ourselves in that we were "up" for
all meals and did not suffer from ‘mal der mer’! But once round
Cape Horn, where a magnificent sunset amid a snowstorm gave us an
unforgettable scene of grandeur and loneliness, our spirits were
gradually lifted day by day as the sun gave more warmth and the
winds became gentle breezes and we could enjoy the relaxed life of
sitting in our deck-chairs in the sunshine, enjoy the present
and dreaming of the time that lay ahead.

Our passengers began to make plans for our entertainment and a
committee was formed with my father as chairman and a programme
of sports and concerts and card tournaments arranged. There was
no organizer of such things in 1913 - passengers were thrown on
their own initiative. But the younger people were very indebted
to the kindness and good nature of the second officer, Mr Hartmann
(later Captain Hartmann) who took them all up to the top deck every
evening and played all manner of lively games with them - his
personality made everything "go".

We had a day in Monte Video, our first foreign port, and our
excitement was great as we were lowered into the launches which took
us ashore. We returned at night to a hot and dirty ship as ‘coaling’
had gone on during our absence and all portholes had to be closed
against the black dust which had penetrated everywhere.

On coming on board we found that our passengers had increased
in numbers - many young Englishmen returning to England for their
annual holiday - mostly bank clerks, insurance and business men
generally who were working in Buenos Ayres.

This, of course, was a matter of excitement to the young ladies
on board who were very few in numbers and who had wondered who were
to be their partners when dances were to be arranged. Young men
had been conspicuous by their absence till we reached Monte Video.
Now with the arrival of a few dozen men in their early twenties
there was an embarrassment of partners and each dance had to be
divided into three parts and each lady to be willing to have
three partners for each. Strange that one should remember so
vividly many of these kindly young Englishmen - even their

names - after sixty years, and wonder what happened to them in
the great tragedy of the following year. Did they return to
England again in 1914 and what was the story of their lives
after that?

Again at Rio di Janiero we had an exciting experience -
the magnificent harbour with the grand outlines of its moun-
tains and the equally magnificent city was a revelation to the
eyes of the untravelled New Zealanders. It was our first
sight of a great continental city - the spacious tree-planted
streets, the tessellated pavements - tall handsome buildings
and marble palaces and the tropical plants around the harbour
side drive where we were fascinated to see a black face appear
occasionally at a window and shake a duster from the palatial
houses along the drive. It made an unforgettable impression
and opened our minds to a great world beyond out own little
island home of New Zealand. Our passengers divided up into
groups of 10-12 and each was in charge of an experienced
traveller. We we fortunate in having a young Spaniard from
the Canary Islands who though he could not speak Portuguese
could easily make himself understood in a kindred language.

But in spite of our capable guide we had a rather alarming
experience before we left the city as we mistook the direction
to our landing stage. Here we were to board our launch that
was to take us out to "Tainui" in mid-stream - there were no
wharves in Rio in 1913, only these little landing places around
the harbour sides. We arrived in good time but saw no sign of
our launch and gazing around us saw miles away the launch which
we should have been aboard sailing out into stream. Here was
a catastrophe! We couldn’t signal - we couldn’t walk - we
couldn’t stay the night and we knew that according to Harbour
regulations in Rio our steamer must be outside the Heads by a
certain time. We were in a panic! Some men with rowing
boats saw our plight and pushed forward to offer their services.
We decided to hire one, and the boat we elected was not
allowed by the group of other boatmen to be boarded. They
pushed and jostled each other, quarreling among themselves
and our Spanish guide could not control the situation. It was
my father then who took command. His voice, which had sten-
torian quality when necessary, gave orders that this and that

boat we would hire and no other. Strange how those men
allowed us to board the boats selected and we took our seats!
But then the quarrelling began again and they slipped in and
out before us preventing us making any progress until they saw
we would not give in and gradually gave up their clamour. I
don’t know whether there were rules for hiring and we may not
have taken them in the right order, but we were getting desperate to
get to our ship. Finally "Tainui" came into sight and then our pirate boatment stopped rowing and laning on their oars demanded
their fare. Of course, it was exorbitant. But my father told
our guide to say they would get what they asked when they put
us on board ship. Again his voice seemed to command them.
And as we neared our ship and saw the long gangway lowered for us,
two of the officers ran down the steps and called "Professor
White, don’t pay them - we shall settle that." Evidently they
knew from experience what robbers these boatmen were. They were given what was considered fair and went off muttering in a
very bad humour. That was our first experience of some bad
luck, but it was nothing to what followed later.

An evening visit to Tenerife and a final concert as we
entered the Bay of Biscay in which my father was in the chair.
He responded to a general request to sing before the concert
finished. He replied, "I will sing if Mrs White will play for
me" which brought another burst of applause. And his songs
were appropriate, "The Bay of Biscay" and the Death of Nelson",
an appropriate choice as it was Trafalgar Day. We all went to
bed that night in good spirits. Our voyage had been a very
happy one - friendly and pleasant relationships among the
passengers with whom we felt a little regret at the thought of
parting. But London lay ahead in a few days and that excite-
ment was first and foremost in our minds.

We little knew what was in store for us in a few hours.
During the night we ran into a dense fog and several passengers
were awakened by regular blasts from the foghorn. Strangely,
my parents and I slept through these and it was only when called
by the steward for our baths in the morning that we heard these
dismal sounds. As I went along the corridor to the bathroom
my ear was struck by another foghorn answering ours and a passing
steward joked, "I hope we do not get a smack in the face in a

minute." Only too prophetic! The "smack" came as I sat in
my bath! suddenly ominous sounds from the engines had given me
a second’s warning. Engines reversed to try to avoid another
ship. I hurriedly dressed and ran to my parent’s cabin where
my father was sitting in his upper berth in a great state of
excitement. He had seen the other ship reel past from the port-
hole - sailors half dressed running to their boats - even the
name "Inca", so close was she to the side of our ship. She
passed out of sight like a phantom ship and though we "stood
by" for three hours we neither saw nor heard of her again.
(Long after our arrival in England we heard she was a small
collier bound for South America.)

Nearly all the passengers had rushed on deck. Some of them
had actually seen the approaching vessel in dim outline trying
to avoid our ship by crossing our bows. But she appeared to
have been caught on the crest of a wave and plunged with her
stern right onto our port bow. The contact caused her to
swerve round and pass towards our stern which she struck again,
passing under our dead line and carrying it away and then out
of sight in the fog. The whole incident did not last more
than a minute or two, but stunned the passengers who knew
nothing as to whether our position was serious or not. It
was Sunday and the morning church service was cancelled and
this looked ominous to us. The hours of the day were long
and anxious, with that gloomy foghorn never stopping its regular
blast. At times we could hear other foghorns in answer to
ours and we realised that the Bay of Biscay must indeed be
a highway at sea.

The passengers grew more alarmed as they noticed the slope
of the ship forward - they were forbidden to go to the bow
where carpenters were busy and the pumps in use. Gradually
we realised that the pumps were not able to cope with a
situation that was becoming worse and rumours of all kinds
passed and passengers were full of nervous fears. At 2:30 pm.
the fog suddenly lifted and the sun shone on a calm blue sea
and our spirits rose with the removal of that depressing
enveloping curtain. We noticed the ship’s course had altered
by the churning of the water and heard the "Tainui" was
making for Spain for repairs and that we might reach Corunna
in some ten hours or so. But this comforting thought was soon

dispelled. Down came the fog again as heavy as ever and we
found it more and more difficult to mount the stairs to deck
and when we saw the crew lowering the life boats to halfway
and seeing to their provisioning, we knew that we were really
in a very anxious situation.

The long hours of that afternoon come back to me so
vividly. Everyone was very anxious and nervous, but most of
them were trying to be cheerful and keep up other people’s
spirits also. This showed itself in many ways, from singing
round the piano well known and popular songs (though one old
lady was heard to say that "hymns would have been more appro-
priate") to walking the decks. We must have walked miles
that day. I remember two of those kind young Englishmen
walking me up and down the deck with the blast of the horn
every few minutes interrupting our conversation until I was
utterly weary with the effort of keeping up my spirits and
keeping my legs moving.

Dinner was a dismal affair that night and as evening set in
and a greater gloom descended we were all becoming nervous and
unable to keep from showing it. At 9 p.m. we heard our
Captain’s voice speaking through the megaphone to two other
ships nearby. He asked them to "stand by" in case of necessity.
This brought little comfort to know that help was near if we
had to leave our ship. And a few passengers we reassured
enough to retire for the night, my father among them. He
refused to be alarmed all day and I heard him rebuke a nervous
excitable man earlier in the day for frightening the ladies.
Most of the passengers however sat up or lay about in the state
room. I lay down in my berth but did not undress. My mother
however could not rest. She was up and down the whole night and said
each time it was more difficult to climb the stairs. At 2 a.m.
I heard her voice calling me to get up and bring my life-belt with
me. My father having to take time to dress, she helped him or
thought she was helping him by taking his life belt up on deck.

The call had evidently come suddenly with the Captain’s
voice over the loud speaker, "All hands on deck - put on your
life belts." this proved a difficulty for me - the life belt
was kept in a case on the roof of the cabin and, as the cabins
had been freshly painted before the ship sailed, my belt had

stuck fast and I could not pull it down. The Purser standing
at the head of the stairs allowed no one on deck without his life
belt. He, from being a very genial person had suddenly become
the possessor of a very alarming voice and manner. "Where’s
your life belt?", he roared at me. "It’s stuck" I replied very meekly. "Steward, go and get Miss White’s belt." Then I was
allowed to go to the upper deck. My father couldn’t even
produce his belt as it had preceded him upstairs but, on
explanation that his wife had taken it with her, he was at last
allowed to go and was indeed the last passenger to arrive on
deck - very calm and unworried save that he couldn’t find his
hat and had to make shift with a shabby old panama he had worn
in the Tropics. However, appearances were not important then -
it was later we were to become self-conscious. Once on deck
there was no panic - the place so still as to seem eerie - we
found several boats had already been filled and lowered. The
Captain and officers and crew were magnificent in the calm,
capable and kindly way they reassured and assisted us. The
Captain personally superintended the boarding of the boats -
this was not an easy thing to do - to mount up on to the gun-
whale where a sailor was seated and from there another sailor
helped one into the boat. Between the steamer and the boat
there was a horrible and terrifying space which one imagined one
might fall into, but strong arms held one. All that fell down
for me was my jewel case, which somehow or other in the movement
of jumping my life belt pressed on my handbag which opened and
out sprang my case into the Bay of Biscay, and there it must
surely be at the bottom of the sea today.

Once in the life boat we watched the action of the pulleys
anxiously in case one might stick and we should be tipped into
the water. But they worked smoothly and we were launched on
the ocean which looked wonderfully calm, but had a treacherous
swell that upset many passengers.

The "Garthcastle" which was our attendant ship had sent out
some of her ship’s boats to form two long lines with an avenue
between, along which our boats passed. This was to prevent any
being lost in the darkness. As we neared our hospitable ship
we head their bells further assisting in guiding and cheering
us also. Just before we reached the "Garthcastle" we saw,
through the momentary lifting of the fog, our dear old ship

"Tainui" maimed and sunken in the bow and realised then how real
had been our danger. I think most of us were rather overcome
with emotion - it had been our home for nearly six weeks and we
were leaving the familiar scene for the unknown. As we approach-
ed the "Garthcastle" we noticed that both decks were lined with
her passengers. We heard later that they had not gone to bed
as in a momentary lifting of the fog they had seen our stricken
ship and had implored their captain to send boats to tranship us.
But rules at sea forbade this until the position became one of
extreme urgency and our ship’s captain had to make that decision.
But evidently the situation had become very dangerous - signs
that the bulkhead might give way and the ship might suddenly
plunge bow foremost into the sea - and Captain Moffatt then
asked for assistance.

Long gangways were waiting us to mount to the deck and soon
all passengers were safely aboard. Hot drinks and food and
passengers surrounding us with practical gifts of clothing rather
overwhelmed us all. Most of us were very overcome - even hyster-
ical with relief, but there were amusing episodes too when a dear
old lady insisted on giving me a pair of black cotton gloves!
Our "hostess" ship was already full and it had no spare accommoda-
tion for an extra 280 passengers. A few sympathetic parents
took their children into their cabins and some older passengers
were able to rest. My father found himself sharing a two berth
cabin with a Bishop from South Africa.

For the next two days and nights we had to endure ship board
life in a heavy fog with at least three other collisions narrowly
averted - a time of strain that was all the greater as we realised
that had we to leave ship a second time there was not boat accomo-
dation for all on board - it would have to be women and children

Life on board for the Garthcastle passengers, however, con-
tinued to be active and bright - sports and dances. We saw for
the first time the new dances. "The Turkey Trot" and "Bunny Hug" -
a great contrast to the sedate dancing of the "Tainui" passengers!

At 5 p.m. on the second afternoon the fog suddenly moved to
the East and we found ourselves in brilliant sunshine and blue
skies and seas and a little later were thrilled to have Lands
End pointed out to us. A deep feeling of excitement and grati-
tude filled our hearts as we realised we should soon be arriving

in England. It had been arranged that our passengers would be
put ashore at Plymouth instead of going on to Tilbury. We
reached Plymouth at midnight and found a special train had been
engaged to take us straight to London.

On going down the gangway we were delighted to hear a
familiar voice call to us. This was my brother, James Renfrew,
who had hurried down to Plymouth to meet us. He had been
alarmed to see notice of the collision in the papers and his
kindly chief (Mr Laurie McGavin) sympathising with his anxiety
had sent him up from Greenwich (where he was House Surgeon at
Dreadnought Hospital) in his limousine to catch a train from
London and so to be on the wharf to meet us.

Now our long eventful journey was nearing its end. The
weary passengers once settled in their carriages spent their
first train journey in England by sleeping soundly - all save
perhaps my father and brother who were so happy and excited
at meeting that they talked all night. At 6 a.m. we arrived
at Paddington Station - huge and empty and silent save for the
clanking of great milk cans being unloaded from the train.

As we had arrived in London two days earlier than expected
we had no accommodation. This was not easy. It was in the
middle of the season. But we took taxi and under my brother’s
direction enquired at six hotels before we could be taken.
We did not look very respectable, I know, and the absence of
luggage made us even more unattractive. But at the Imperial
Hotel, Russell Square, we were given an early breakfast and
then wearily sank into our beds to sleep for the rest of the
day, only awakening to go out in the later afternoon to send a
cable to Dunedin and to buy necessary night wear and toilet
necessities. This was our first drive through London from
Russell Square down to the City to Reuters. Shall I ever
forget it? - dazed as we were to look down a side street and see
the dome of St.Pauls. Yes! we were really in London at last -
it was the realisation of a long-wished for dream. London
was so gay and brilliant - buses and taxis flying about every-
where - barrel organs playing everywhere too it seemed - and
their favourite tune was "Alexander’s Ragtime Band". Could
any tune more express our excitement? It was our theme song
for London! I can hear it still. I see the brilliance and
sunshine and feel the excitement of those hours nearly sixty
years later as vividly as if it were but yesterday.


Our first visit next day was naturally to our Bank, the
Bank of New Zealand in Queen Victoria Street, to meet the Sub-
Manager and fix up our affairs. Here we were pleased to meet
a former member of the staff of our Bank in Dunedin, Mr Thos.
Mill, whose wife, Miss Lena Treseder (a well known singer in
Dunedin musical life) was an ex-student of my father’s. We
were very surprised to find our small colony of New Zealand
should have secured a site of such importance in London as to
be right opposite the great Bank of England, and to be next to
the Mansion House. This impressed us very much, and Mr Mill
invited us to come to the Bank on the day of the Lord Mayor’s
Procession from which we should have a specially close view.

From there we walked to the office of the Shaw Savill Co.
where on making enquiries, we heard that "Tainui" was still at
Corunna in Spain undergoing repairs, but would probably arrive
at the Docks in two weeks’ time. This made it necessary for
us to go shopping to provide ourselves with clothing to carry
us over this period. But where to go? The City was not the
shopping area. and on asking advice we were told that Bourne and
Hollingworth in New Oxford Street was the nearest big store.
Here my mother and I found it quite an exciting experience
to have such a wide range of choice - individual styles and most
attractive - making it quite hard to make a decision. From
there we went to Chas. Baker’s - a men’s emporium. My father,
I think, felt a little self conscious in his outfit - especially
in his tropical panama - his apology and explanation called
forth enquiries from the assistant and soon he was surrounded
by a small group of attendants who wanted to hear the story of
our collision in the Bay of Biscay. They proved most helpful
after this entertainment! Indeed, we had to tell that tale
so often for the next few weeks that we became quite weary of
the subject. We left the Imperial Hotel next day and moved
to a smaller one in Montague Street near the British Museum
where we had engaged rooms-before leaving New Zealand.

We were not long after the initial excitement of our arrival
in London in realizing that we were all suffering a reaction
from the strain of our last days at sea. We found the crowded
streets with their bustling life in London W.C. - the "roar"

and noise of the traffic too much for our overstrained nerves.
We longed for a quiet haven for a while to recover. Through
the kindness of friends we were introduced to an attractive
guesthouse (13 Highbury New Park) in North London. Its
spacious rooms and pleasant garden made a very good impression
on our first visit, and we decided to make it our home for the
next few months. Highbury New Park was a quiet tree-lined
avenue with large houses on either side leading to Clissold
Park. It was about a mile long and quite ideal for my
father’s morning-after breakfast walk. This he made a habit
in London - a walk after breakfast - then come home to settle
down to read the "Daily Telegraph" - to follow the interests
of London life and be aware of interests ahead. The House
of Commons’ Debates were read thoroughly. My father followed
political life very closely and spent many hours in the
Strangers’ Gallery. 1913 was a year of three very important
and controversial measures, on which feeling ran high through-
out the country. "The Plural Voting Bill" - "The Disestablish-
ment of the Welsh Church" - and "Home Rule for Ireland".
Introductions to a few members of Parliament gave him tickets
for the Strangers’ Gallery. Unfortunately my mother and I could
not accompany him there, as all women were debarred from atten-
dance in the House because of Suffragette disturbances.

Once settled down in our new home my father commenced writing
weekly letters to his sons in Dunedin. These letters reflect his
reaction to the brilliant and exciting life of London in 1913 and
1914 - that period so often called "The End of the Edwardian Era".
These letters are much too long and detailed and often too personal
for inclusion in this story - but that memorable time certainly
should have its place here, for it was for my father an exhilar-
ating experience - everything interested him - he never seemed to
tire and surprised us by his youthfulness and zest. "Father’s
letters are the surprise of the season’" wrote my brother David
from Knox College. My father had never been a letter writer,
with his family and relations all living in Dunedin there had been
no reason for personal correspondence. However he became a very
interesting letter-writer, though somewhat late in life. He had
a little style of his own in always describing events in the
present tense. I remember asking him once why he wrote in this way.
His reply - "it seemed so much more vivid and alive"!

As with most visitors to London it was the street scenes
that made the first impression. That is, I think, the over-
whelming memory of London in 1913 and 1914 before the Great War.
Regent Street, Bond Street, the elaborately dressed ladies with
their great hats, coming out of the shops to their waiting
limousines, being handed in by their liveried chauffeurs, the
carriages, the riders in Hyde Park - we were satisfied to sit
on top of a bus (buses in 1913 were open on top) and watch this
never ending drama before our eyes. We never wearied of this
form of entertainment. It seemed a veritable Vanity Fair.
Then the terrible contrast, the East End! The pitiful scenes
of poverty and squalor. A visit to Petticoat Lane to be included
later. This was all a revelation to three New Zealanders who
had never seen such destitution and pitiable sights. All this
went on day and night.

As one example of what lay beneath the surface of London
life, we were surprised one morning from our seat on top of a
bus going down the City Road to see a procession of little children -
I quote from a letter -
"On our way down the City Road, we see people attracted by
something going on ahead of us. Some hundreds of little children,
some of them mere toddlers being guided along the pavement.
Policemen and citizens doing their best to guard them from being
knocked over. The little pilgrims are very scantily clad, look
badly fed, but still happy looking. They are being taken for
a free breakfast - poor little souls! An Alexandra Philanthropic
Institution provides three free meals a day for the indigent and
half starved little waifs of the city. All around this institu-
tion great wealthy firms making their fortunes and here in the
midst of it all this sorry procession of babes - the children
of London who are dependent on the charity of London for their daily

But there were special interests for my father in going to
London, and one was to fulfil a life-long ambition to see grand
opera at Covent Garden. Opera had been one of his great inter-
ests in life and the season was in "full swing" at Covent Garden,
already halfway through. We could not delay in applying for
admission. What a disappointment then to hear at the Box Office
that there was not a seat left for the rest of the season. But
there was one Box! My father did not hesitate. He took it

for three nights - two of them "Caruso" nights at higher prices!
But it was not such an extravagance after all - for the box held
four people and that was the number of our family group.

This first night my father left to me to describe and the
following is the account I wrote to my brothers.

Montague St., W.E.
June 9, 1913.


As I wrote earlier we had a box for "Tosca". The music was
already familiar, thanks to your last Xmas present to me - and
we also read Sardou’s drama (which was Sara Bernhardts great
role) as a further aid to appreciating Caruso and Scotti in
their parts - we were all very excited - Father especially so.

Jim was to join us at dinner, but to our great disappointment
could not leave his work, but telephoned he would meet us outside
the Opera House at 8.15. The operas begin at 8.30 p.m. The
porter hailed a taxi and we were off! We approached Covent
Garden through narrow streets and drew up in a narrow avenue
between the Colonnade and the main building. There were hundreds
of private cars and taxis driving up in haste and discharging
wonderfully gowned ladies and their escorts. Before we alighted
we caught a sight of Jim standing among the waiting crowd under
the Colonnade - long coat, white waistcoat and top hat. We
thought he looked very smart and felt quite proud of him.
Indeed Mother and I thought our escorts quite overshadowed us
that night. Our frocks were Dunedin-made and very simple com-
pared with the wealth of fashion all around us. But, at least,
we were in full evening dress, which is de rigueur in Covent
Garden. I thought my mother though looked distinguished in
her black lace with her lovely white hair and bright face. I
was in rose pink but no jewellery alas, it was at the bottom
of the Bay of Biscay! But this was not a time for regrets,
the sights around us were too exciting. As we had a box we had
the privilege of going up the same stairs as the aristocratic
and socialite occupants of the boxes on all floors and felt
that our first visit to Covent Garden had a certain glamour
even in our own appearance there.

At last we reached Floor 4 to a Box which was five away from
the stage where we found our attendant in black and dainty cap
and muslin apron, waiting to receive us and show the gentlemen
where to hang their hats and coats. Then drawing our red velvet
chairs to the front of the box we surveyed the dazzling scene
below and all ,around us.

The Opera House is an enormous building with a stage that
must be 60-80 feet wide. It holds 3500 people and there must
have been present over 3000 that night. All the 21 rows
of stalls with 30 seats in each row were filled - each seat costs
$2/2/-. Ranged round the Stalls on the same elevation was a
tier of private boxes - then above a second tier including the
Royal Box just opposite to our position - above this another row
and above this again a fourth row containing eight boxes on
each side. We occupied the fifth box from the stage and could
see and hear splendidly. Between this row of boxes, rows of
stalls with every seat occupied at 15/- each, then away above
that the unreserved seats at 5/-each. I cannot pretend to
describe the scene and audience. The brilliance at first sight
was breath-taking. Just to sit and gaze would have been an
evening’s entertainment in itself. The arrivals in the rows of
boxes, the beautifully dressed ladies in their sparkling jewels,
tiaras and necklaces of pearls, coming to the front and sitting
down while the gentlemen usually stood behind them until the
opera began. It was the elderly ladies I admired most, their
beautifully coiffeured white hair which seemed to display their
tiaras with greater splendour, their poise and elegance! My
mother and I were entranced. While looking down into the stalls
we saw more elegant ladies moving quickly to their seats, their
long tight frocks with their fishtail trains jerking from side
to side as they walked. All this in the brilliantly lighted
house was a revelation to us newly arrived Colonials. Such a
scene of animation and excited anticipation! we could have sat
and watched for an hour, but soon the house was full and the hum
of conversation suddenly dropped to an arresting silence as the
lights were lowered and in the hush all eyes were turned to the
stage. A quiet figure slipped out from under the stage, bowed
to the applause of the audience and Signor Polacco turned to his

The curtains parted and with three sharp chords from the
orchestra the opera began. Soon Caruso (Cavaradossi) entered
and moved to his easel. How can I describe this moment?
Was it real? Was that the great Caruso? And were we just
about to hear that world famous voice? We listened for the
first notes. We did not admire his appearance very much,
he did not look a handsome hero but soon we heard his duet
with Tosca and realised the "golden" voice and felt his power
as an actor. Tosca" was taken by Louise Edvina, a young
French Canadian, who was slender and beautiful and quite ideal
in the character. She had a lovely soprano voice and proved
to be a magnificent actress. Later Scotti as Scarpia, a hand-
some and cultured looking figure. This was supposed to be his
most famous role and in the great tragic scene between Tosca
and himself their performance rose to great heights in singing
and acting, carrying the audience with them on a deeply felt
tide of emotion. Then the scene with Cavaradossi in the tower
let us hear that golden voice, the "voice of the century" it was
called, poured out in a tragic intensity of feeling that was in-

What a night that was to remember and to realize afterwards
that it was the spell of their great acting that seemed to have
taken first place in our minds, not so much the music.

And so the Great Night is over! We were in a dream, the
whole experience had been so overwhelming! So many impressions
on our senses at once and too much strain on our emotions.
But a never to be forgotten event in our lives. At the close
of each act the singers were recalled five or six times. We
did not find the audience a very enthusiastic one in expressing
their applause. Fashionable London may not be present to
enjoy! But here and there in the house and in the gallery where
the music lovers and students were seated the response was terrific.

At last we leave our Box and proceed along the corridor
slowly noting the names on the doors of some of the boxes. These
are the season ticket holders, many well known names among the
aristocracy. Down the wide staircase walking slowly and looking
with interest at this section of the audience as they file out
slowly to their waiting motor cars. Outside standing under the
brilliant lights long rows of taxis are waiting. But we don’t

indulge in one for ourselves. Jim shows us to the Covent Garden
Tube nearby, while he goes off to catch the train for Greenwich
after thanking Father warmly for this great experience, his first
night also at Covent Garden.

Reading the criticisms in the daily papers next morning we
find a list of the notabilities present. Opera at Covent Garden
is evidently one of the fashionable events of the London Season,
the "Diamond Court" is described etc. But all agree that nowhere
else in the world could anything like it be seen or heard."

: : : : : : : : : : : :

"League of the Empire"

Soon after our arrival my father attended a conference of
teachers from the Dominions overseas as a representative of the
New Zealand Educational Institute. The purpose of the Conference
was to form an Imperial Union of Teachers. It was an idea of
Mrs Ord Marshall who, after the death of her husband, wanted to
carry on some form of educational work for teachers and her ideal
was to be able to arrange visits from teachers from the various
Dominions to England and in exchange teachers in England would
visit and teach in the Dominions. At the opening meeting this
"Imperial Union of Teachers" was formed with headquarters at the
League of Empire. The Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick Pollock was elected
President and Mrs Ord Marshall Secretary.

The committee selected were all well known public men -
and ladies prepared to arrange entertainment for the visitors.
Three of these ladies, Mrs G. F. Watts, widow of the famous artist,
Mrs Holman Hunt, widow of another well known artist, and Mrs
Popplewell, a lady from South Australia then resident in London
in a beautiful old home in The Boltons, South Kensington, formerly
the London home of Jenny Lind, were often hostesses to us. The
first social gathering of the newly formed society was held in the
Caxton Hall, Westminster, when the Society was formerly opened by
Queen Amelia of Portugal. An afternoon gathering at Mrs Popple-
well’s is described in the following letter of my father’s.

"It was a gathering in honour of the League of Empire delegates.
Sir Philip Hutchins, the Earl of Meath and a rising young journalist
"speechified" to the assembled guests, mostly teachers. The
journalist or lawyer (I forget which) made a remarkably good speech.
The two elder gentlemen had much to say about "Empire" and "Imperial"
and "Dominion" and Great Britain, but it was not very inspiring.

They stood on a raised platform and addressed the company for
a few minutes. Then afternoon tea and some small talk. Sir
Philip said to me "that of all the overseas Dominions he would
like best to visit New Zealand, but he was too old for that" and
I said "Well I am as old as you are and I have ventured across
the mighty sea". "Oh, no. You are not nearly so old as I"!
This led to some interchange of compliments and an interjection
from one of the company that we should get up a bet on the
subject "who was the older"? Neither up to this point had
given his age either actually or approximately. Sir Philip
says "I shall be 76 next month, I was in service in India until
I was 70." On great occasions he wears the "Star of India"
or some such brilliant decoration. I don’t know what he has
been, but he is a very active man for his years.

The Earl of Meath is, I think, one of the Vice Presidents
of the League. You may remember he visited Dunedin some years
ago (when he visited the Girls’ High School and founded a branch
of the "Ministering Children’s League"). He gives annually a
large sum of money for prizes to the Public Schools of England
and the Empire, or essays on some historical subject.

He is a very kindly looking old gentleman, very quiet and
unobtrusive in his manner. He has written a number of essays
on Duty, Discipline, Imperialism and so on. He gave a copy to
one of the delegates who asked if he would put his autograph in
it. A few minutes later he gave me a copy and signed it "Meath,
1912" I said I would pass it on to my boys to read. I find
on looking over the book that he is the compiler of the volume -
one or two of the essays from his hand, but the others from
well known men - bishops, archbishops, cardinals, Lord Roberts
and other military men. And so the afternoon passed away

Goodbye to Mrs Popplewell and we are off to the underground
tube station, the quickest way home as we have to go out tonight
to another reception. All these receptions are of course in
evening dress so that I have sometimes to have on three different
suits in one day - too much dressing and undressing for me, but
one must submit with a good grace. we (Mother and I) get
down to the Reception about 8.30 p.m., this time the hosts are
executive members of the National Union of Teachers of England

(they have 80,000 members) and the representatives of the London
Teachers’ Association. There are crowds of fashionably dressed
men and women going up the wide staircase to the Connaught Rooms -
one of the largest halls in London. When we reach the great vesti-
bule, uniformed attendants to show us to the coat and cloak rooms -
top hat and umbrella and overcoat exchanged for a ticket - we know
what that means! and Mother and I are introduced in stentorian
tones to the hosts of the evening. The hall is brilliantly lighted
and there must be, I should say, some 600 guests all placed at
tables well laden with good things. It is, I find, a political
meeting rather than an educational one, and the men at the top
table are all well known public men. "The seats were nearly all
filled up before we arrived, but some one found places for us at a
table at which two ex-presidents of the Union were sitting and,
after kindly handshakes all round the table, we soon found our-
selves at home. A, Mr J. F. Blacker, one of the ex-presidents, was
most kind to us. He withdrew from teaching some years ago and
devoted himself to the study of "Old China" and the history of
Ceramic Art in England and in the East, in China particularly.
He is the author of some costly books on the subject connected in
some way or other with the Doulton firm and writes an account of
the history of their firm and of the wonderful things for which
they are famous. Mother says she would like to see over Doulton’s
Pottery and he very kindly arranges a visit which I shall note
bye and bye. The champagne and viands over, the toast list is
taken up. I am offered a cigar, but hesitate as there are ladies
present. "Oh in London the gentlemen smoke at all these gatherings
when ladies are present". I see cigars and cigarettes being lit
all round me and of course I do as Rome does. Mother does not
care for this sort of thing. I am much interested in the speeches,
the officials of the Union speak well. I am taken back many years
ago when it used to be my lot to speak on occasions like these.
The Secretary of The Union is rather a famous fellow, He has been
knighted for his services to education, Sir James Yoxall. He is
also a member of Parliament. (He represents the Teachers’ Union).
The Union elects one member to Parliament. When he rises to his
feet Mr Blacker says "Now you will hear our best-man"! It was a
very fine speech given with great confidence - a welcome to their
fellow workers from over the seas. They had come to study the
educational system of today as it is met in London - but he would

advise them to give some attention to historic London and
especially to the literary life of old London. "You came
up a narrow street to this hall. Sam Johnson passed round
the corner hundreds of times. Boswell lived on the opposite
side of this narrow street." He referred to many who had
lived all round the Connaught Hall - so linked the past and
the present in a very effective way. There was great applause
when he sat down. I must present my introduction to him some
day when I have time. The Union pay him a good salary and in
addition he draws $400 a year as member of Parliament for you
must know that M.Ps. are now paid in England. I was not aware
of this fact until the other day - so much have I got out of
touch with English politics during the last ten years.

The next speaker was Dr. Macnamara, M.P. He wore the
medal given to all ex-presidents of the Union of Teachers -
he had been a primary school teacher - is now Secretary for War
and one of His Majesty’s Ministers - considered one of the
strongest Liberals in Parliament. I should say a good party
speaker - vigorous and to the point. The teachers are justly
proud of the fact that one of their number has risen to be a
member of the Crown. He is of course very popular. But he
has other duties tonight, has indeed to hurry back to Parlia-
ment and leaves as soon as his speech is over. As he passes
the table where these two ex-presidents are he shakes hands
with his former colleagues. Mr Blacker introduces us as
from the Antipodes - with a firm grip of the hand he says a
friendly goodnight.

The next to act on the list is responded to by Lord
Strathcona - an old gentleman - 93 years - speaks so softly
that only those near him can hear what he says, but the whole
audience are quiet - no noise of glasses or small talk
anywhere for "Strathcona" is one of the best beloved and
best known men in London. A poor Scottish boy who emigrated
to Canada - built up a great fortune. Be has given tens of
thousands to charitable and philanthropic purposes. When
he was over 60 he entered public life. High Comissioner
for Canada - a member of the Privy Council - one of the most

honoured men in London - both for his kindliness of feeling and
simplicity of manner and public services. He does not make a
long speech but every word is listened to with respect. When
he sits down the audience are tumultuous in their applause.

The hour is getting late - Strathcona accompanied by his
daughter and a friend made for the door. He has a very fine
face and as he walked rather slowly up the aisle with his
daughter at his side we stand to do honour to whom honour is
due. Not many men at 93 attend banquets until nearly midnight,
but he wished to be present to testify to his appreciation of
the great work which teachers are doing all over the world.

There were a number of other speakers to follow, but Mother
is getting tired and as all the great guns have fired, we leave
shortly before midnight.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

July 28, 1913. Tea with Mrs Holman Hunt.

This afternoon we are invited to tea with Mrs Holman Hunt
- the widow of the great painter. Mrs Hunt, her son and
daughter-in-law receive us kindly. The latter are home on
furlough from Burma and Mrs Hunt lives in Melbury Road, Kensington.
She is a very interesting old lady and we all had a talk with
her. Her dress was distinctive and the lace mantilla she
wore every time we met her, seemed with her very uncommon style
of dressing and jewellery to look appropriate to the wife of an

Mrs Hunt suggested that it would be better to have tea
first.and then look round the pictures on the walls and then
go to the Studio. We first see a portrait of Holman Hunt and
notice that his son is like him. In the drawing room a
symbolic picture dealing with the subject of one of Tennyson’s
poems "The Lady of Shalott". Mrs Hunt comes to explain the
subject which she does in a very clever and interesting way.

On the opposite wall a very extraordinary picture - a scene
depicting a festival in the Greek Church in Jerusalem.
Then a portrait of Mrs Hunt when she was a girl - a beautiful
face and still a beautiful face though a beauty of a different
kind. The son takes us into the Studio - a group of boys on
the Tower of the Cathedral in Oxford singing a thanksgiving
hymn on Easter morning. Most of the faces are portraits
and the son pointing to me says "You probably know who that
is ’Himself, of course’." He is justifiably proud of his
father’s work - a wonderful picture in the corner - Mary
Magdalen prostrate before Christ and wiping his feet with
her hair. Some portraits too of well-known men - a quiet
homelike house this - a small studio - but one feels a master
spirit has dwelt there.

When we go to say "goodbye" Mrs Hunt enquires "What
country do we come from?" "Do you keep a diary of the
things and places you visit? I always did when I travelled
abroad, otherwise all the places would get confused in my
memory. The best way is to write up each day’s work,
then get postcards of the things that interest you and
sew the postcards on strips of cloth so that they may be
folded up neatly." Mother tells her I keep a diary: then
looking at Ida "Get your daughter to sew on the postcards."
A very enjoyable afternoon - after all people interest one
more than places and things.

There are not the same signs of wealth here as at Mrs
G.F. Watts (where we had had lunch a few days before) nor
so much to be seen but Mother says she has carried away
with her clearer ideas of what she has seen here. There
were fewer pictures and the house and grounds were simple -
an artist in London - not in the country.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

Petticoat Lane

Sunday morning - August 17, 1913 - Four of us, two
friends Ida and I are off early, not to Church, but to pay
a visit to Petticoat Lane. You have often heard of the
unenviable notoriety of Petticoat Lane in the East End of
London. It has been said that you should not go there unless
under the escort of’a policeman - that you should certainly
leave your watch and chain or money at home for I hear it is
no unusual thing to have your watch stolen at one end and have
it offered to you by one of the denizens of that place for
sale at the other end.

These and many other tales are told you of the kind of
people you rub shoulders with as you walk down the Lane.
Petticoat Lane lies between Bishopsgate Street and Whitechapel -
a notorious part for thefts and murders. The Lane is narrow
and winding with shops or stalls on either side - about half
a mile long. The stalls are built up on trestles with a
light iron or wooden framework on top, covered with cloth to
keep the sun or rain and from these the goods hang all round.
Each cheap jack who sells has usually a broken down looking
specimen assisting him.

At every stall there is a kind of auction sale - each
man trying to raise his voice higher than his neighbour -
he must get a crowd round him. I watched one make a start.
He spread out watches, small clocks, all sorts of jewellery.
He was unmistakably of Jewish nationality, fat, sleek, pros-
perous at this business. He took off his coat and put it on
one side, then talked - talked continuously. Meanwhile no
one was listening to him but myself - said he was not going
to ruin himself by selling at ridiculous prices, nor was he
going to encourage greed in other people by letting them
have a gold watch for a few shillings. Talked about his
reputation - how long he had been at this business and so on.

Soon a crowd begins to gather round the stall - (you
must talk in this world if you want to get a following).

All this time he doesn’t try to sell anything. He gets his
crowd first and then offers a gold watch of 1.15/- for 10/-.
A buyer at 10/-! The watch is handed out to the assistant
to a man in the front row. I am on the pavement and see
the faces of the crowd well; this was no bona fide sale -
the whole thing was done too mechanically for that. He has
accomplices in the crowd who work for him. Then he
expatiates on the bargain the man has got. Take up some-
thing else - a gold chain - not worth 1/- I suppose and gets a
few shillings for it. He has made a sale - a simpleton
fumbles out all he has - he hasn’t got the sum! "Well,
what have you got?" I didn’t hear the sum - "I’ll give
it to you for that" - and so he goes on all Sunday. Further
down the Lane another stall is covered with clothing. No
one at this stall but myself. ’"Sell you this, slr?"
holding up a coat. "How much?" I enquire out of curiosity -
"Sell it to you for 2/6." "How do you manage to sell it so
cheaply?" "I pinched it sir." I smile - "Oh!" and pass
on to another stall. Here the man takes your photo, fixes
it, puts it in a frame about 1 inch in diameter and charges
you only a penny. Two queer old objects get photographed
and pay the penny and go away, quite pleased looking at
their counterparts in their hands.

"Take yours Doctor," he says to me. The look in my
eye is enough - no business in that direction.

We get to the bottom of the Lane in about 20 minutes
and I am so interested that I persuade the others to go up
again just to make a study of this extraordinary scene.

A queer crowd they are, not in rags exactly, nor yet
abjectly poor, for they seem to have pennies to spend on a
good many things. They auction or sell everything. A
quack doctor gets a great sale for his patent medicine.
"A glass of this will cure you of this, that and everything"
and up come the sillies to give up their pennies and drink
the coloured water.

At other stalls boots, hats, neckties, boxing gloves,

second-hand books. l notice "Homer’s Iliad" and "London
Society". They are all doing a roaring trade and the
"brownies" are thrown down. Small dishes of green peas
and mint sauce. Three young men are throwing these into
their mouths with much relish.. Sunday is evidently a day in
which they enjoy themselves. Emptying their pockets of
pennies and filling their stomachs with all sorts of rubbish.
Not hilarious but doing it in a business-like way. We have
seen one more of the sights of London.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

My father enjoyed a good sermon and good congregational
singing when he always sang the bass part in the hymns. He
visited most of the leading Churches of every denomination on
Sunday mornings and heard many of the well-known preachers -
the Bishop of London in St. Pauls - Archdeacon Wilberforce at
Westminster Abbey - Monsignor Benson at Westminster Cathedral -
Father Bernard Vaughan at the Farm St. Jesuit Church (with its
very beautiful choir singing) - Rev. R. J. Campbell at the City
Temple and Dr. Campbell Morgan at Westminster Chapel. All
these were crowded congregations at which one had difficulty
in getting a seat. There were others too but of all he
heard he was most attracted to dear old Dr. F. B. Meyer at
the Regent’s Park Baptist Chapel. His visit here follows -

September 12, 1913. A Church Service

Ida and I go to hear Rev. F.B. Meyer, B.A., D.D., a cele-
brated Baptist preacher. In the 0tago Daily Times his name
is found nearly every Saturday morning I think. Thoughtful
passages, sermons, prayers from his pen. I think Professor
Hewitson often used to mention Meyer in Knox Church. I am
therefore interested in hearing and seeing him. We start
early - travel by bus for nearly 30 minutes and get there far
too soon. The Chapel is near Regent’s Park, so we go there
for about twenty minutes and rest. Watching the hundreds of
passers-by and not a single face that one knows. One keeps
expecting someone to recognise you, but no! A strange
experience! We get back to the Chapel and find the Church

is not by any means filled - a very large hall rather than a
Church. Always someone ready to show you to a seat - each pew
has a door that encloses you like a sheep pen. There is a
gallery and a high pulpit on a level with the gallery.
Punctually at eleven an old gentleman gets briskly up the stair
and there is no mistaking his individuality. The head of a
thinker - a happy-looking Cardinal Newman - simple clear voice
and his hands and arms are never at rest for a moment when he
is speaking. He is evidently greatly revered here both by
young and old, but I would say especially by the former. He
speaks of his young friends as his fellow workers. Prayers and
sermon all bespoke the man who has made the spiritual life his
daily study. He takes as his subject The Calling of Matthew"
and spoke without notes for 40 minutes - the sermon seemed a
short one. He sketched Matthew’s life and way of living. The
tax collector with no registration restrictions - charged what
he liked! But more particularly did he depict his accomplices
and servitors who did the dirty work. There were publicans and
sinners. These latter were the sinners. He makes long
pauses - "Riff Raff"! This tickled my fancy - very appro-
priate! Ida says I made an audible sign of my appreciation -
perhaps so. The discourse was a talk, a conversation with and
to his hearers. Not a word lost. Even very simple things
seem weighty and full of meaning "We put new wine into new
bottles! Some people," he said, "are giving themselves intellectual
anxiety about the kind of bottle - that is disturbing themselves
about questions of verbal distinction and neglecting the fact
that it is "new" wine they want - the wine of life. Make your
own bottle," he said, meaning, evolve your own theology if you
like, but get the new wine of a higher life. The old man has a
very lovable personality. There was to be an after meeting in
an adjoining room to discuss some work in committee with the
Church and it is done in these words - "Now all you young people"
pointing all round - "Come down the stair and have a cup of coffee
first and then we’ll have a hymn or two and I’ll have something to
say to you." Not many could resist the old man’s eloquence, I
should say. Ida was greatly delighted with him. (So was my
brother whose hospital was so nearby that he often went to an
Evening Service - and later asked Dr Meyes to "christen" his first
child - Dr Meyer said he could not christen - but he would
dedicate the baby." (Kathleen Joan)

My father was catholic in his interest as is shown by his
visits to Museums and Art Galleries, Churches, Theatres,
Concerts, Flower Shows - the Law Courts - even a Champion
Billiard Match and an Agricultural Show. This latter the next
letter describes.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

An Agricultural Show

Wed. Oct. 22/13. I go to the Agricultural Hall. It is one
of the show places of London. It is an enormous two-storey
building where the English farmers hold their big shows under
the auspices of the British Dairy Association. Hundreds of
taxis bring up the healthy looking English farmers and their
wives to see the Show - the event of the year I suppose.
I don’t think they look quite so big and brown as their New
Zealand representatives, but very keen looking and business -
like all the same. The Show is just like every other
agricultural show - cattle but very few, chiefly farm and
dairy products and mainly I should say an exhibition of all
the modern inventions. Science applied to agricultural
machinery. In some parts a great crowd I can scarcely get
about - not a face one knows. I am looking at a prize cow,
when a gentleman says to me "Are you interested in Cattle
breeding sir?" I smile inwardly and say "Not particularly" -
the only point of contact with a human being during my two
hours’ stay! A great number of exhibits in butter - I look
at the prize ticket out of curiosity - one marked 1st Prize
gets: 971
2 of marks - I look again and lo! and behold "Dunedin
and Taieri Peninsula Co. N.Z." then again another First prize
and again to my delight - Dunedin Taieri and Peninsula comes
on top. 98% - I don’t think anyone in that vast crowd
notices particularly that it was little Dunedin that carried
off the honours. I notice some of the markings as low as
46% - I get an interest in the Show now and begin further
examination in detail. Fancy my being interested in butter
and bacon! l noticed that bacon from Australia carried off
some prizes but could not say whether they were first.
Australia had a very conspicuous display of all its products -
fruit, cereals, wines, wool and very good advertisements.
A large printed statement put in an out of the way corner
stated - "Australia in extent one fourth of the whole British

Empire - 25 times as great as the United Kingdom". And in a
better position, the following fact in big figures "The United
Kingdom bought from Australia in 1911 - 211,557,700 lbs of butter".

New Zealand has no such Court and did not seem officially to
take advantage of this opportunity of advertising herself. Where
it is a matter of a Dreadnought, or a South African Contingent or
borrowing 314 million we find a good deal of public interest, but
no such interest in agriculture or pastoral products. Root crops
and poultry and pigeons took up a big space in the Agricultural
Hall, Islington, but as I have said, the commercial interest was
largely represented by all the big manufacturing firms having
their representative stalls and agents trying to convince the
conservative farmer that this was the latest and best thing in
the world for him. I have not stayed in an Agricultural Show so
long before, but find that I am more interested in the human
beings all around me. How eagerly they watch the milk separator,
the making of soft cheese, the milking machine, and they gather in
knots to discuss the points of this cow or that bull. I join the
little groups - here and there - and listen and try to look wise.
Some of the words I can scarcely make out; I suppose the country
visitors come from far off counties and bring their dialect with

This Show was one of the last visits my father paid in the
environs of Highbury and Canonbury. Winter was approaching and
he began to long for his own fireside round which we could sit and
not have to share with others in a Guest House. We spent many
tiring hours in looking for a suitable flat, but at last found quite
an ideal maisonette in Holland Road, Kensington. A maisonette con-
sisted of two floors in a four-storied house - we had the lower one
with our own front door, and this had the advantage also of a small
garden. The other greater advantage was that there was a maid
attached who did all the housework as well as the cooking, and
this allowed my mother to be free to accompany my father on his
explorations around the historic neighbourhood of Holland House with
its wide streets and beautiful homes.

: : : : : : : : :
"A Political Meeting (November 1913)
(Winston Churchhill Alexandra Palace)

Mother and I are to meet Jim this afternoon at 2:30 at Highbury
Station. About five weeks ago we got two tickets to hear Churchill,
the First Lord of the Admiralty, speak at Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill.

Only members of the Liberal Association get
tickets - (My father had been nominated as a visiting member
of several Liberal Clubs on arrival from N.Z.). I later
get another ticket for Mother, after a good deal of per-
suasion, from the Secretary - only five hundred women were
to be admitted and all the women had to sit together in the
body of the hall and everyone having a ticket must pledge
herself not to interrupt the speaker. They are so afraid
of Suffragist interruptions that every precaution is taken
when a Minister is to speak, to keep them out of the meeting.

In London one cannot walk into a political meeting
as is possible in New Zealand. Everyone pays for admission
- the tickets were 2/6 each. I have been looking forward
to this meeting for a month and so has Jim.

We take a bus to the Palace and reach it at 3.30 p.m.
The Chair is to be taken at 4 p.m. - an unusual time surely
for a political meeting. None of us had been in this
district (Muswell Hill) before. It is elevated ground and
quiet - a self contained little city - beautiful homes and
gardens and very busy thoroughfares. We soon see the towers
of the Palace in the distance - no need to ask where it is.
It is an enormous brick building situated in beautiful grounds
built some 30 years ago as a place for public meetings and
concerts in North London. There are numerous entrances and a
crowd at the doors. We leave Mother in charge of the Lady
Superintendent to be conducted to her seat. Jim and I then
have to find our door and after trying several entrances we
find the right one. Our attention is arrested as soon as
we get inside by the sound of an organ and a choir. A great
sound of voices - 6000 or 7000 people singing with all their
might. What kind of political meeting is this? We are
handed programmes with the words and stand up and add a little
to the song of the many-throated multitude. The songs are
political and party war-cries and all in the Palace are
supposed to be Liberals. In London under present conditions
there is no such thing as a mixed meeting of Conservative
and Liberal. We get a very good Seat - 19 rows from the
platform and immediately opposite the speakers. The ladies

are all behind us. The half hour soon passes and we hear cheers
from the rear of the platform and judge that Churchill has
arrived. He gets a tremendous reception. The whole audience
rise and cheer and wave hats and programmes and sing "For he’s
a jolly good fellow". At 4.20 Churchill rises to speak after
introductory remarks from the Chairman. He had scarcely
finished the first paragraph before we hear a voice calling out -
then a rush of half a dozen stewards towards the culprit and he
is thrown out neck and crop. In the meantime nearly all the
audience rise to see what is the matter. The speaker looks on
helplessly and continues for another few minutes - then more
uproar and a repetition of the same thing and so on for about
20 minutes. I really thought the meeting would break up in
disorder and I thought too that Mother would be dreadfully
nervous. There was no interruption by the women …only men
caused the uproar. Some of the offenders were very roughly
handled - Churchill himself said as they were taking out one of
the offenders "Gently, he’s an old man". Of course everybody
knew the condition - plainly printed on the ticket under which
they were admitted and they had no right to interrupt.

In every case the interruption bore on the imprisonment and
treatment of women sent to gaol under what the Suffragists call
"The Cat and Mouse Act". After some eight had been thus
summarily ejected Churchill was allowed to proceed without
further interruption. He read the whole of his address - is
not really an orator but speaks fluently. His voice was not
strong enough to fill the immense palace. It would take a
Boanerges to do that. Mother said she could hear but very
little - I lost only an occasional word - Home Rule - National
Insurance a new Land Policy and other points of the Liberal
programme were dealt with - Churchill is a pugnacious looking
man likes to"crack heads" - very clever but not, I should say, a
great Statesman. A man about 5 feet 6", broad square face and
tip tilted nose. He spoke for about an hour and a half. He
and his lady left almost as soon as he had finished : he did not
wait for the customary vote of thanks. I suppose he wished to
get away before the audience dispersed and thus avoid the
attention of the Suffragettes.

It is quite dark when we get outside and Jim and I hurry off
to find Mother. She had been waiting for some time and was
glad to see two friendly faces among the thousands passing out
of the doors.

"The National Union of Teachers"

April ll - ’14 - Conference 1914 Lowestoft.

It has been raining in Lowestoft - the streets
are dirty about the station and our first impression is
not favourable. We get a carriage and drive to our
boarding house - about a quarter of an hour’s drive.
We are delighted with our quarters - the sitting rooms are
large and well furnished and overlook the German Ocean.
We have an uninterrupted view of the beach and the ocean
something like looking out on the ocean from the hilltop
at Purakanui, but the ocean lacks the glorious deep blue
of the Paciffc - the little rivers here deposit a good
deal of mud and river wash and the waters on the shore are
turbid and "drumlie" as the Scottish say. But it is a
change from London - the sea air is so bracing and so far
we have had bright sunshine all day. Lowestoft is the
most Eastern point of England. It gets the first rays of
the sun before any other part of England and of this fact
the good people of Lowestoft are very proud. It is the
great centre of the largest market in the world of the
herring fishery. Hundreds of fishing boats with their
brown sails bring in millions of tons of fish they take off
the Coast.

l think Lowestoft is a little City of some 30,000
people. The houses on the Esplanade and on the Cliffs are
mostly public and private boarding-houses. Two piers
about a quarter of a mile long run out into the sea and on
the end of one is the Lowestoft lighthouse. At least one
of these piers belongs to the Railway Company and a charge
of 2d admlts one to the pier - but representatives to the
Conference are admitted on showing their tickets. Sir
James Yoxall, Secretary to the N.U.T, kindly sent us three
tickets that admit us to all functions social and political.

In the afternoon a reception at 4 p.m. was held in
the large Pier house. Hundreds and hundreds of teachers
here and we don’t know a soul as yet. But by and by we

meet some officials and they are very kind to visitors especially
when they hear that we come from the uttermost part of the earth!
Then we take a walk right to the end of the pier - enjoy the
sight of the sea - the waves and fishing boats and luggers that
crowd the wharves and all the enclosed space between the break-
water walls. Quite a number of "Old Salts" about with weather
beaten faces and wide flowing nether garments.

Lowestoft is one of the oldest of the towns in East Anglia.
It is quite on the northern border of Suffolk and adjoining
the County of Norfolk.

We go back to "Edengale" - our boarding house for dinner - a
very good table and some very jolly representative teachers.
I am doubtful whether it is wise for me to enter into their
circle, but in the smoking room - with cigars and coffee I am
soon on the best of terms with them - the leader of their party
and a chorus of approvals drink my health in "coffee" and wish
me a pleasant stay in Lowestoft. Educational topics form the
subject of discussion until bedtime and we are glad to retire.
We have most comfortable beds and are very satisfied with all the
domestic affairs as we see them. We have as good a night’s rest
as we can expect for a first night. (My father had been as long
as I can remember a poor sleeper and I remember those evenings
at "Edengale" when there were no functions, that Mother used to
go to the smoking room to remind father that he wouldn’t sleep if
talked too long - but she was greeted by a chorus - "Mrs
White let us have him a little longer".)

There are special services this afternoon for members of the
Conference. The Bishop of Norwich is to preach. He was for
20 years Head Master of Wellington College. We have to go early
to get a seat - we don’t often hear a Bishop. Every seat is

When the service is fairly well begun we are introduced to
a Suffragette disturbance. A few seats behind us stand up two
seats of women who pray aloud for Elizabeth Pankhurst and the

Suffragette cause. Consternation all about - Church
officers rush to hustle them out. Some altercation,
angry words and very un-Christian angry looks on the
faces of the congregation - they are hustled past us -
right under the Bishop ready to begin his sermon in the
pulpit. They all address him as they pass by in loud
tones "My Lord Bishop will you help our cause?" This
incident over, we settle down to listen to the sermon.
Then more interruptions - the Bishop stops - the organist
tries to take the attention of the congregation from the
scenes and scuffles that are going on all round us,
ejecting the unruly members - a temporary suspension of
hostilities. The Bishop resumes - more interruptions -
and one of the Suffragettes goes right up the aisle, up
past the Bishop and between the choristers to the steps of
the altar and there she kneels and prays for the martyrs
in the Women’s Franchise cause. The officers do not follow
her to the altar - I suppose it would be sacrilege to do
any violence to any on that consecrated spot. She came
quietly down the steps and walked out of the Church.
In the meantime the Bishop, the officers and congregation
look on aghast.

After this the Bishop is allowed to proceed, but it
is difficult to realize that such scenes have taken place
under our eyes - and the disregard of ecclesiastical and
official authority is evidently an epoch-making event in
the history of the English Church. We learnt afterwards
that the Bishop is an Anti Suffragette - an opponent of
the movement - that sixteen of the Suffragettes had asked
for an interview with them on Saturday. He said he would
receive two of their number but not more. So they evi-
dently had made up their minds to "interview" him publicly.
The movement is a psychological problem that puzzles most
people. The Suffragettes have taken possession of
Lowestoft. It appears that they follow the Conference
with a view to enlist the sympathy of the Teachers of
England. Some of the women are members and fearing a

disturbance at the meetings of the Conference, a stringent by-law
has been passed cutting members off the roll if they disturb the
Conference meetings - this, it is supposed, will have the desired
effect. If they are bold enough to disturb a Church meeting
they are equal to anything.

Monday, April 13 - The great Parliament of Teachers opens today
at l0 a.m. I was favoured with a ticket which admitted me to the
platform, but as the New Zealand Educational Institute is not
affiliated to the N.U.T. I can, of course, take no part in the
proceedings: but I am not anxious at all to do so. I am
interested in listening and have been introduced to most of the
leaders. What a sea of faces! They tell me that there are
2000 primary school teachers present. I think about as many men
as women - perhaps not quite so many.

The first item of importance was the address of the newly
elected President. He dealt chiefly with the social and pro-
fessional status of the teachers in England. Most of the matters
suggested as reforms of the English system are accepted matters
of fact in New Zealand. It was a good address and was well
received by the great audience. There is no hall large enough
in Lowestoft to hold such a gathering and they have taken the
huge skating rink which is badly ventilated - indeed not ventilated
at all - and there was very soon a demand for fresh air. Then
every window was thrown open with the result that many members
caught cold. I got a very bad cold in the throat and a severe
headache that made me feel miserable all day and all night.
I have been in the past so interested in debates and management
of discussions on educational topics that I am always attracted
to a gathering of this kind and I went again in the afternoon
despite my cold. The various speakers are subjected to a very
severe trial when they face this tremendous audience. If a
speaker wanders from the point, if he repeats himself, or repeats
something that has already been said, there is immediately a roar
from two thousand voices "Agreed", "Agreed", "Agreed" and the
speaker knows he is losing his audience.

It is a grand training in public speaking, this summary
method of letting a speaker know he is losing hold of his
audience and is off the track or simply treading on an old
familiar one. Another popular test is applied in this way:

the speaker is allowed "ten minutes" - if he can hold their
attention so long : at the end of ten minutes a bell rings
and a show of hands is taken to find out if he is to be
allowed to speak longer. If in his favour the President
says "the speaker Mr --- shall be heard" or as was most.
frequently the case "the speaker shall not be heard" and the
poor fellow has to submit and generally sits down abashed.
Very sensitive people wouldn’t care to submit themselves to
this treatment. It trains the inexperienced speaker in
three things - (1) prepare what you intend to say (2) make
the subject matter relevant (3) speak well out for you
require a good voice to reach the ears of two thousand people.

I look round all that large audience with astonishment.
There are nearly as many teachers here as there are in all
New Zealand or at least as many as there are on the roll of
the New Zealand Educational Institute and those present are
only representatives, for the National Union of Teachers has
a roll of 90,000 members. Next year they expect the number
to be l00,000. Their business is well arranged - their
meetings conducted in an orderly manner. They vote as
representatives of their local association: for every
County has one or more associations and in this case each
representative controls so many votes or may cast so many
votes on a particular question. But there are others present
who are not representatives but merely members of the Union,
so that the show of hands-does not tell us how the ultimate
voting will go. For instance they discussed the subject of
equal pay for men and women - the show of hands seemed fairly
equal. When the vote was taken the total votes cast by
representatives was 11,000 for and 49,000 against.

Last night the Mayor of Lowestoft held a public reception
- nearly 3000 people present and a most uncomfortable crush!
We stayed only for a short time and I went to the Mayor and
thanked him personally for the local reception given to us
as overseas visitors.

I went to a Suffragette meeting ln the Marina Theatre -
the non-militant section of the Movement. The chair was
taken by Sir Victor Horsley - the eminent London Surgeon.
Mrs Fawcett L.L.D. widow of the late Professor Fawcett was

the chief speaker - she indulges in no rhetoric, but speaks
convincingly and in well ordered periods. She quoted the
example of New Zealand in giving votes to women as an illus-
tration of the advances which the overseas Colonies were
making in socio-political reform.

I attended the final public meeting of the N.U.T. I
am very glad I came as I have learned a good deal about the
teaching profession in England and of the problems they are
trying to solve. They have a big task before them, made all
the more difficult of solution as Education is under the con-
trol of so many different administrative bodies - every County
has its own system and there is very little central control.

The members of the profession who were staying at our
boarding house were intelligent men and the day’s discussions
were often carried on till late hours at night in the smoking
room. It reminded me of the "talks" at Tiro Katoa with
Hogben, Foster and Davidson. I was usually installed not as
"chairman" but as they preferred to call me "Moderator" from
the fact that I had frequently to call them to order and bring
them back to the subject under discussion. I not sure that
all that talk was good for me - better to have been in bed!
However the fine crisp air of Lowestoft kept us all in good

: : : : : : : : : : :

Royal Colonial Institute

Reception in Natural History Museum

Wed. June 24, 1914. Tonight we attended one of the largest
and most fashionable gatherings we have been to in London.
The Royal Colonial Institute gave its Annual Reception to members
at the Natural History Museum. There were some 4000 guests and
nearly all of the immense Museum was given to the guests.

The rooms were brilliantly lighted with electric lights.
One of the finest of the London Military Bands discoursed sweet
music and the company represented all the branches of the Civil,

Indian and Colonial Services. Many of the men had their
breasts literally covered with medals and decorations and the
ladies! - I cannot describe them. Suffice it to say that
Mother says she never saw such beautiful, expensive and
charming dresses.

After being received by the President, we took chairs
and for a long time sat viewing the endless procession of
ladies and gentlemen - in every conceivable style of dress
and every variety of blending of colours. Mother was
intensely interested and I too usually unobservant of passing
shows of this kind felt that this was a scene such as we are
never likely to witness again.

Here again as in most of the gatherings we were strangers
- the only Dunedin people we knew were Mr Justice and Mrs
Chapman. Of course we did not see everybody and there may
have been others.

The objects of Natural History - dead objects were not
looked at by most - the moving spectacle of modern men and
women was the chief attraction. Nearby us was a bust or
statue of Darwin and not far off many specimens of what he
considered our ancestors. It was hard to believe that all the
brave men and beautiful women had evolved from the forbidding
ugly looking apes that stood not far off. The visitors filled
the great halls upstairs and downstairs. We were content to
sit and look on. After an hour or so we went to the refresh-
ment rooms and had some light supper.

A grand concert was given in the Shell Gallery. It was
crowded. All the performers were from overseas - South Africa,
Australia, Canada, New Zealand. The Gallery has a dome-shaped
roof and the voices rang out well. Miss Mabel Manson (daughter
of Mr Joseph Braithwaite, Dunedin) sang two or three songs.
She has a very pure high soprano voice and she was the best of
the vocalists. She looks quite young, though it must be many
years since she left Dunedin. ’She has a rather giddy frivolous
manner as if she were endeavouring to gain the good opinion of
the audience and this rather detracts from merits as a public

singer. She has not yet got any recognised position as a great
singer in London. I think she sings in Music hall concerts and
places of that kind and has perhaps all unconsciously adopted a
strange manner and gestures that we did not care about. However
we were glad to find that New Zealand carried off the honours
on this occasion.

We did not wait till the Concert was over, otherwise I
think I should have spoken to her as a fellow citizen of that
little city in the far south. It was getting late so Mother and
I are off to catch our bus. They do things on a lavish scale -
imagine a Conversazione with 4000 guests!

Thur. 23 June. In the morning I visited the Fulham Training
College for Women - two hundred women on the roll. I spent
four hours at the College. The Principal Miss Lloyd-Evans, a
very intelligent woman, showed me all round a large well-
equipped building. We discussed all the problems of how to
train and how not to train primary school teachers. She gave
me a very detailed account of her methods and of the organi-
sation and has promised to send me documents and regulations
showing me the inner working of the College. A clever woman!
Her brother, she told me, was one of the leading writers on the
staff of the London Times, so I judge they are a very clever

Miss Lloyd-Evans asked me to stay to lunch at the
College. Two hundred students and fourteen members of the
staff - all women - and I was the sole representative of
mankind. What a chatter was kept up the whole time. After
lunch the staff and myself adjourned to another room for coffee
and there of course I had to do the honours of the occasion.
They are interested or profess to be interested in New Zealand.
Miss Evans was particularly kind and very anxious to let me see
everything done in the College. A visit of this kind takes me
away back to the Dunedin Training College and all the pleasant
memories I have of my life’s work there. Alas now a thing of
the past and yet the training of teachers is still one of my
life’s interest.

I have made many notes of what I have seen in Fulham

Trainlng College, but they will not interest you.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

In the evening I attended the "New Zealand Dinner".
The New Zealanders in London meet once a year to dine and
talk and interchange impressions of London and discuss the
faraway home in the Southern Pacific. I hesitated about
going for some time as the ticket was 25/- the most I have
ever paid for a dinner. But everything is dear in London and
I thought it was likely to be my only chance of attending such
a function and if in the future I should read in a New Zealand
paper of the New Zealand dinner in London I should be able to
imagine what the gathering meant.

The guests assembled at 7 o’clock in the Trocadero
Piccadilly and were received by the Hon. Thos Mackenzie and
Sir E. M. Nelson. Over two hundred guests and after hand-
shaklng and talk we went to the dining hall - a very finely
furnished room. There were two or three ex-Governors of New
Zealand present and quite a number of Government Officials
and others connected with trading interests in New Zealand.
I knew very few comparatively - more visitors from the North
Island than the South and more from the North of the South
Island than from down South. The following Dunedinites were
present: Sir Joshua Williams, Sir James Mills, Mr Michie of
the Bank of New Zealand, Mr Lubeckl, Mr T.A. Hunter, Mr
Justice Chapman, Mr Hysms and sf Cleghorn - these were I think
the only ones I knew.

Each guest has his position at the banquet arranged for
him and you will see from the programme I have sent you that
I had a place at the first table. I had a word or two with
all the Dunedin people and the whole company were very friendly
and social. The Governors’ speeches were not of a very high
order and Sir Joshua too failed to make the impression he
usually scores as an after-dinner speaker. The speeches were
brief and to the point. The Hon. Thos Mackenzie was, of
course, in the chair. He personally referred to some of the
guests saying that many of them had given their life’s work
to upbuilding the character and institutions of our beloved

New Zealand. the selected four - all Dunedin men - and men-
tioned them in this order - Sir Joshua’Williams, Sir James
Mills, Professor White and Mr Justice Chapman. It was a
little gratifying to have one’s services recognised at a
London dinner.

There was an interval for conversation and I went
round and enjoyed the social intercourse. Sir James Mills
said "Allow me to introduce myself". I said it was scarcely
necessary since his name and he himself were well known to
me though we had never met before. When New Zealanders meet
in London they seem drawn to each other.

It was a very pleasant reunion. I am glad I went.
The dinner was over at the reasonable hour of ten o’clock.
Mr Cleghorn and I came away together and we stood in Picca-
dilly looking at the amazing scene - carriages, motors,
buses whirling round in every direction crowded with gay
fashionably dressed people off to parties, balls or theatres.
What a pleasure loving people!

Mr Justice Chapman asked me what was the most wonderful
thing I had seen since I came to London and I said on the spur
of the moment "Why Covent Garden Opera". "What has struck
you most?"

"Well", he said,"Piccadilly at 12 o’clock at night when
the fashionable world are getting home from the theatre."

Piccadilly is really a wonderful sight by day or night.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

A Ministerial Reception

July 10, 1914. We had an invitation from the Colonial
Liberal Club to an "At Home" in honour of Viscount and
Viscountess Buxton. The Viscount has been appointed Governor
of the South African Commonwealth. This "At Home" was given
by Mr and Mrs Tennant - brother-in-law of Mr Asquith - Prime
Minister - at their home in Bruton Street off Bond Street.
It was for 10 p.m. I walked towards the house after leaving

the motor-bus and as I neared the residence I saw motors and
taxis by the dozen taking guests to the reception. Not many
poor pedestrians like myself making their way to No. 33 - a
very beautiful home - the Tennants are reputed to be very
wealthy people.

After giving our names at the door we were shown to a
room where a footman took our hats and coats. I was sur-
prised when I reached the landing to see the Rt. Hon. the
Prime Minister, Mr Asquith, standing beside Mrs Tennant who
received the guests. Mr Asquith shook hands with each guest.
There were some hundreds of people there and as I passed from
room to room I could not see one person I knew. I did expect
to see some New Zealanders. The secretary of the Club came
up to me and said he had not caught my name when I was announced.
He introduced me to two gentlemen who were standing by.

It was quite a Liberal Ministerial party - the Right
Hon. Lewis Harcourt, Sir Edward Grey, Minister of Foreign
Affairs, and several others of Cabinet Rank. There were a
number of Australians, Americans and South Africans who like
myself were strangers to the general company - some of them
did not even know Mr Asquith by sight. It was a very genial
company nevertheless - there was an absence of that constraint
noticeable in some of these big social functions.

There was no introduction to Ministers as far as I could
see. But I enjoyed some brief conversation with a jolly man
from New York - an artist - and with other visitors from the
Continent and elsewhere.

There was music by a small group of players - ample
refreshments and a perfect babel of conversation all round.
It was about 11.30 p.m. when I left. Just as I was leaving
I shook hands with Dr. Chapple M.P. at one time a New
Zealander - a graduate of the Otago School of Medicine.
Just as I was getting into the Tube I saw a gentleman and
lady who had also been to the reception. I had met this
gentleman at the New Zealand dinner - a Bank Inspector from
Wellington - a Mr Stewart. He was in Otago for sometime and
said he knew of me and asked about several Dunedinites.

I enjoyed this evening very much chiefly because I saw
close at hand some members of the Cabinet. Mother and Ida were
at a dance at Mrs Popplewell’s at the Boltons the same evening
and we all reached 111A at a little past midnight.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

The Foundling Hospital

October 11, 1914. We go to a church known as the Foundling
Hospital Church. Here some 150-200 boys and more than that
number of girls in the choir - all dressed alike. The girls with
white aprons and little white peaked hats looking like so many
demure Dutch maids. The thought that all these are orphans -
not only orphans but foundlings picked up on the street and
brought to this hospital makes one very sad. But on the other
hand it is a blessing that there is an institution of this kind
where they are cared for and educated - most of the girls
are later placed in good homes and the boys put to trades or the

I am not much interested in the sermon. I cannot keep
my eyes off these rows of girls and boys. They don’t
look happy, though I daresay they are content with their lot, as
they have never known anything better.

After service we were permitted to see them have their
midday meal - meat and potatoes and bread. They seemed to
have good appetites, but were not particular about the size
of the mouthfuls that got short shift by way of mastication!
The girls ate almost in silence - the boys talked noisily.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

0ct.24, 1914. A "Red Cross" Concert.

Immediately after lunch we set off for the Royal Albert
Hall where a concert is being given in aid of the Red Cross
and the great hall had an audience of some 8-10,000 people.
The King and Queen occupied the Royal Box and we were well

placed for "watching" Royalty if that had been the object of
our visit. That was the audience - now for the performers.
Five Military Bands massed in front of the stage. We have
never seen such an array of instrumentalists - 250-300 per-
formers wedged in between them a full orchestra. Above these
the Royal Choral Society - behind these the great organ.
Five famous conductors - Sir Frederick Cowen, Sir Frederick
Bridge, Sir Henry Wood, Sir Chas. Stanford and the Conductor
of the Military Bands. The soloists were Adelina Patti,
Carrie Tubb, Plunket Green and a Japanese soprano - Miura.

It was a patriotic concert and over the orchestra hung
the flags of the allies - Russian, French, Belgian, Japanese,
flanked by the Union Jack. Then all round the gallery the
flags of the Empire - quite near us the New Zealand flag with
the dear old Southern Cross. We sat for nearly an hour watching
the audience assembling - then the performers. At 3 p.m.
punctually we see an official waving a handkerchief to the
conductor of the orchestra - a sign that the King and Queen had
entered the hall. Then the great audience and the performers
all rose to their feet. The Bands played the National Anthem,
the Conductor turned to the audience and the great gathering
joined in singing the well-known air. The King and Queen
stood passively as this was sung - bowing slightly before they
took their seats. This was a great opening and we were all
now tuned up to concert pitch.

The Military Bands National Airs under Sir Chas Stanford,
a cornet solo "Annie Laurie" and then came the inevitable "It’s
a long long way to Tipperary" - not a classic by any means, but
popular and seemed to fit the occasion and everyone joined in
the singing. But we and many others had come to hear "Patti"
and she did not appear for some time. The programme was not
adhered to and I almost feared that her name was perhaps only a
draw, but surely she would not permit that. Then a hush over
the whole audience - a stir on the platform - the cheering had
already begun on the platform - then cheering and clapping of
hands by the great audience as the little lady advanced and
bowed her acknowledgment. Over 50 years since she first
appeared in public - she must surely be now over 70 years of
age. We were too far from the stage to see her features

clearly. We could only tell that she was "petite" with a
charming manner. She must surely have. good nerves to stand
undisturbed before such a sea of faces. There is an absolute
hush to catch her first notes. She sang "Voi che sapete" and
the tone and quality of her voice was superb - indescribably
sweet and pure - at times she quite filled the enormous building.
The intelligence, the interpretation! ah! we just got a brief
insight into the magnetic influence she must have exercised over
the millions who have heard her in bygone days. It must have been
a glorious voice - a great artiste! Even now it moved us
all to tremendous enthusiam.

Recalled four times she then sang "Home Sweet Home" - the
song appeals very much. We were all in tears. But our joy
was great too. We have heard Adelina Patti! I begin now
to think over the great women singers I have heard in London -
Patti, Melba, Tetrazzini, Destina, Edvina, Kirkby Lunn,
Claire Dux, Elena Gerhardt, Julia Culp and many others not so
famous. Surely this is the best the world can give!

: : : : : : : : : : : :

Kingsway Hotel - Guildford St.

Sat. 0ct.l0, 1914.

We cannot get away from the War. Just about breakfast
time a thousand or so reservists pass by and nearly everyone
in the dining room must get up and look out of the windows.

Not more than five minutes’ walk fr m here is one of
the large public squares where squads are being drilled and
buglers learning to blow their instruments. The streets are
crowded with Belgians and dozens are standing at hotel doors
discussing the War.

As much French is heard in the streets of London as
English at present. Public and private hospitality are doing
what they can to ameliorate the position of these helpless

There must be so e hundreds of thousands of them in
England at present - a great many very poor, just bringing
with them what they could hurriedly pick up. Many of them
are penniless and haven’t even a change of clothes. They
were glad to get out of Antwerp. What a cruel unprovoked
war on a peaceful industrious population!

Tonight London is very dark and we see searchlights
playing over the city and a number of our airships flitting
above our heads. The light issuing from these aeroplanes
looks like a swiftly moving fleecy cloud.

I don’t know that the War Council really expect an
attack at night on London, but of course it is wise to be
prepared for it.

The Londoners are very quiet and don’t seem to get at
all excited. The only time they get anxious is when
disaster overtakes our fleet - as in the sinking of the
"Pathfinder", "Cresse", "LeHogue" and the "Amphion" with
tremendous loss of life.

The Fleet is our shield and protection - "If that
goes, we go" - seems to be the general opinion.

The Naval Authorities are very confident of ultimate
success and I attach no importance to public talk or
newspaper scares.

: : : : : : : : : : : :


Our visit to London was drawing to an end. We had planned
to spend the last three months of our tour in Europe and join
our ship at Naples. But to our great disappointment - and to
my father’s most of all - we had to cancel this tour owing to
the declaration of War on August 4, 1914. We spent some time
in Scotland and England and returned to London to prepare for
our sailing, but it was a very changed London. The shadow of
war hung heavily over the great city -gone was the stimulation
and excitement of London street life -people moved about as if
stunned, their faces reflecting their anxieties and fears.
At night the former brilliance of the streets was changed to
darkness and gloom. Hotels and boardinghouses in Bloomsbury
(where we spent our last weeks) were full of foreigners and
refugees, and many elderly Englishwomen, whose small incomes or
pensions had been so reduced that they had to leave their homes
to live more cheaply in board and lodgings. The evenings in the
drawingroom were full of ladies, all busily knitting and talking
only of "The War" - everyone lived in a tense state of waiting -
news of a big battle from across the Channel was expected every
day. Several Naval disasters had sent the spirits of the
English people down in a way nothing else could have done -
England and her Navy! If that failed where was England?

We spent our last weeks in saying ’goodbye’ to our many kind
friends, in last minute shopping and in preparation for departure
by sea. This was also a cause for depression. Who could think
calmly of a sea voyage in "Wartime" with the German Navy in the
Atlantic and submarines in the Channel? We knew we were to
sail with "lights out" all the way and that the ship would be
unpleasantly overcrowded. So many previous sailings had been
cancelled, as the Navy required more and more ships, we were not
even sure that our ship might not be requisitioned before the date
of departure. I think my father and I would have preferred to
stay in London, but Mother was longing to see my youngest brother,
Jack, in New Zealand, before he left for the Front. She was
torn both ways, as she did not like leaving my brother with no
home to go to after leaving hospital. However, an invitation
came from one of the Ladies’ Committee of the Royal National
Orthopaedic Hospital where he was working. Lady Evelyn Mason
had turned her Mayfair home into a Convalescent Hospital for
Officers. Jim was not then in the Army so could not go there,

but this was an invitation to spend Christmas with her and her
family in her home near 0xford. Mr Mason was M.P. for Oxford.

My brother came to our hotel for the last week of our stay.
The night before we left a friend of his and I took him by train
on a dreary wet evening down to this tiny village station on a
side line near Oxford. Here we could dimly discern a large
limousine drawn up with a liveried chauffeur waiting for us.
The man was concerned we could not get any dinner at the
primitive inn near the station (which we had expected to do)
but "he was sure Lady Evelyn would like us to come for dinner
too." Interesting as this would have been to see the beautiful
home where Jim was to stay, we could not risk losing our return
train to London. So we parted there very sadly, my brother’s
pale sad face as he drove off in the darkness to his unknown
hostess’s home haunted me for days. (However, we heard later
he received so warm and kindly a welcome from his host and
hostess and their three daughters, that he was soon at home
and living a life of luxury for the next three weeks.)

We arrived back in London just before midnight and left
next morning at 8.00 a.m. for Tilbury. An amusing ’hold-up’
at the last moment occurred when Mother came to pack her hot
water bag and discovered it was not hers. A hurried summons
for the maid who visited several other bedrooms, to discover
at last Mother’s bag being enjoyed by an old gentleman still
in bed! The bag was retrieved and his own returned, and then
we drove away in the pouring rain to the Tilbury Docks. What
a melancholy farewell to dear old England!

In a few hours we were in the Channel and were shocked to
see the periscope of a submarine appear. It had surfaced
suddenly - fortunately it was not German - but we were full of
nervous fears which our previous experience at sea had naturally
increased. We called at Plymouth, our port of arrival, and
looking down at the passengers embarking we were pleased to see
Professor and Mrs Pickerill and their family walking up the
gangway - this was a pleasant surprise to see some friendly

The Bay of Biscay, which had been so calm in the fog on
our outward voyage, was now rough and boisterous, and our ship

"Orsova" rolled heavily day and night. Once in the Mediterran-
ean we felt a little safer and more inclined to take part in the
Christmas festivities the crew had prepared for the ships
passengers. But the Mediterranean was not blue as we expected,
we had a stormy passage to Naples, where we spent a day visiting
Pompeii. Sailing through.the Straits of Messina we were
delighted with the fairyland effect of seeing the two cities of
Reggio and Messina suddenly light up at the same moment. More
rough weather till we reached Port Said when seated at the piano
playing for the evening service I noticed passenger after passen-
ger leave the saloon and wondered if I could see the service out -
somehow I felt more at home on a piano stool and could control
my feelings better. At Port Said we were moved by the sight of
a young woman carrying a baby walking up our gangway, she was the
widow of the first Australian casualty returning to her homeland.

Along the side of the Suez Canal our New Zealand troops were
encamped - so many of our young relations and friends were there -
we wrote letters to all we knew. Poor lads! how many of them
were to meet their deaths so soon after at Gallipoli! As if to
make our voyage still more anxious we had a sudden outbreak of
a very virulent influenza from which few passengers escaped.
Many were seriously and even dangerously ill, my mother among
the latter. Twice one night the ship was halted for burials at
sea. I remember sitting up in bed as I heard the engines
stopped and realizing what that signified was overcome with
dread in case that might be my dear mother’s fate, but fortun-
ately she very slowly began to recover. All through the
tropics she was very weak, and one of the big doors in the side
of the ship was opened and a bed was placed for her in the alley-
way where she might catch a breath of air from the movement of
the ship.

Before we reached Australia our Captain took us a little out
of our course to see the German ship Emden beached on Cocos
Island. Rather hysterically we sang "Rule Britannia" over her!
This was perhaps the spirit of that time. It had been a
victory for H.M.S. Sydney of the Australian Navy, and we had
news of this when staying at Bournemouth at a guesthouse where an
English woman, on hearing the news, had exclaimed in my hearing,
"What a pity it was not the British Navy that had the victory!"
Being young and impulsive I sprang to my feet, asking indignantly,

"And what is the Australian Navy but British?" She had the grace
to apologize by saying she had not realized I was in the room!

This was perhaps characteristic of the English people then.
They had no interest in the Colonies, and what they had was a
patronizing interest. It was only after the bravery of our
Colonial boys at Gallipoli and in France that a great change of attitude was evident in Britain.

We arrived in Australia to find Melbourne and Sydney suffering
from a heat wave. But how we enjoyed our visits to our relations!
Aunt Janet and Dagmar and Martin in Melbourne, and Uncle Walter
to take us to his home for the day and night in Sydney. And how
we appreciated the delicious meals they served us! We had lost
our appetites after being so ill, and the first meal of roast loin
of lamb and mint sauce is something I still remember.

We had to tranship at Sydney for Wellington and were fortunate
crossing the Tasman to have a calm sea and sunshine. We spent
hours on the deck talking to our minister, Rev. Evan Davies and his
wife, whom we had seen in London a little while before.

In Wellington my brother Jack (in khaki) was awaiting us on the
wharf. We had only a few hours with him, but we were relieved to
find this short meeting was not his farewell, as he expected to be
home on final leave in a few weeks.

We transferred to the "Monawai" and spent the next day in Christ-
church with our old friends Dr and Mrs Chilton, and early the
following morning completed our trip round the world by sailing up
Dunedin Harbour in an early morning of February 1915.

After all the fine harbours and magnificent scenery we had seen,
we felt our Dunedin harbour, though small, had its own loveliness
with its hills and inlets and Dunedin set so beautifully at its head.
We were deeply moved and grateful for our safe arrival home after our
experiences of a collision at sea and a six weeks’ voyage with lights
out in war time.

A large gathering of aunts, uncles and cousins and friends
awaited us on the wharf, and the sight of my brother David walking

up the gangway to greet us was a moving experience.

Soon we were at home in our beloved home "Tito Katoa" on
the hill. Here awaiting us at the door was the first baby grand-
son in his mother’s arms - a welcome and a new interest in life.

And here ended what Mother always called "Our Great Adventure".

After the excitement of our homecoming, with visits from our
many relations and friends, and the departure of my brother David
and his wife and baby son for Invercargill, we settled down to a
quiet life as a ’Trio’ again, and found it a little difficult after
the stimulation of our London visit. There we had certainly been
living under the shadow of war, but we were not personally involved.
Now, within a few months, there were two sons at the Front, Jim in
France and Jack in Gallipoli.

On looking back on those years I remember no special incidents,
only the heaviness of spirit in which we lived. Our house seemed so
big and empty - we did not have even the extra company of a maid at
first, because my mother and I felt we should keep ourselves occupied.
A ring at the front door bell always set our hearts beating quickly.
Would it be a telegraph boy or a policeman with a dreaded cablegram?
And when our time came to have this experience with what a sense of
relief and gratitude we heard that Jim was invalided to London, and
Jack in hospital on Lemnos, to be taken eventually by hospital ship
"Aquitania" to London. They were "out of it" for a time anyway,
and we had the satisfaction of knowing where they were and what they
were doing. Letters were so long in arriving then - six weeks at
least - and in answer to our news there were three long months to

The activities of our lives those years were all concerned
with war and work for soldiers. Church services of intercession,
Red Cross classes, sewing meetings, knitting circles, patriotic
concerts in aid of the wounded who, when they began to return to
Dunedin, had to be entertained and visited in hospital - this was
arranged by many societies and committees.

In 1916 Jack was the first son to return to New Zealand.
A long period of convalescence in London after leaving University
College Hospital, and then further-service in France, where he

was badly wounded in a night raid and sent to "Blighty", and
thereafter returned to Dunedin in the hospital ship "Maheno".
He spent some time in the Dunedin Hospital with a series of
operations on his leg and, when he returned to his old position
in the National Insurance Company, he was soon moved to Welling-
ton and Gisborne, where he settled for the rest of his life.

Hundreds of returned wounded men were already in hospital
awaiting specialist treatment for bone and nerve injuries - there
was no trained Orthopaedic surgeon in New Zealand. The New
Zealand Government asked that my brother James Renfrew might
be transferred from the R.A.M.C. to New Zealand Medical Corps
where these men might have the specialist surgery required.

So in 1917 my brother and his wife and daughter (Joan) of
one year, arrived in Dunedin and made their home with us in the
meantime. It was not long before our home became a centre for
cases from all over New Zealand with children who had
required orthopaedic surgery from birth.

With the arrival of my brother David from Auckland on trans-
fer to Dunedin, our family circle was once more re-united.

I Unfortunately this happy time was marred by the serious out-
break of influenza which disrupted the whole of city life.
It was of a very severe and contagious nature and additional
hospital accommodation had to be prepared in halls available
and members of the public were called on to assist in nursing
and cooking. In our household five members caught it, severely
too. Fortunately Jack and I escaped, but we had to work very
hard in looking after the others. I shall never forget the
depression and weakness that followed this illness, especially
in my two brothers. It was long before they recovered their
health and spirits.

Then came the Armistice and life gradually returned to a
more normal state. Jack was the first to depart, Jim and his
wife and little daughter went to live in George Street in a
house my father had built for him, and David and wife and son
moved to our first home "Kassa" in George Street, nearly oppo-
site to his brother.

Our household of three returned to a quieter life - a happy
time for my parents to enjoy their sons and grandchildren in
visits, especially on Sunday afternoons.

In 1919 the University of Otago celebrated its Jubilee in a
series of occasions. Father’s old friend and colleague, Dr.
Charles Chilton (Rector Canterbury College) and Mrs Chilton were
our guests for the festivities.

In this year Father was elected Chairman of the Astronomical
Branch of the Royal Society. He had been for years regular in
his attendance at their monthly meetings, and after his return
to Dunedin gave a paper on his "Visit to Greenwich Observatory."
He was always conscious of the fact that he was only an amateur,
and was careful in papers that he read to recognise this lack
of scientific training. But his gift of clear explanation and
exposition always held the interest of his audience, and his
original and homemade apparatus added a stimulation to his paper.

During these next years three more grandchildren were added
to the "White" family - Valerie and Alan to my brother David’s
family, and Margaret to my brother Jas. Renfrew.

In 1925 he was asked by the Chairman of the Dunedin Exhibition
(held in Logan Park of that year), Sir Sutherland Ross, to become
Chairman of the Education Court, and to plan and develop the lay-
out of the Court and the activities in connection with the exhibits.
He enjoyed this return to his former interests and was very enthus-
iastic over the planning and designing of the Court. His own
personal contribution to the specimens of educational interest was
the exercise book compiled by his father, James Wilson White, in
1825 as a pupil of Fountainbridge School, Edinburgh.

In 1927 he and my mother fulfilled a long promised visit to
my brother and his wife in Gisborne. They left in May and spent
a month there leaving just before his 80th birthday. This was a
particularly happy and lively time - three weeks of social life
spent among my sister-in-law’s large and friendly family circle -
meeting so many of his ex-students on the staff of primary schools,
and Mr Frank Foote, the Headmaster of the Gisborne High School.

A visit to Rotorua and Wairakei followed, and then they
travelled south to Christchurch where his 80th birthday was
spent in the home of a favourite nephew, Stanley Wilkinson.
An afternoon tea party on the birthday was held at the home of
another old educational friend, Mr (and Mrs) Bevan Brown, where
a birthday cake had been provided.

Home again to his beloved "Tiro Katoa" and to settle down
to a problem that was causing him some thought. The family
home was too large and it was becoming increasingly difficult
to get capable domestic help. Should the home be turned into
flats? or should a smaller house be built on the lower garden? -
one that would be easier for my mother to run if, as was most
likely, he should predecease her.

A year or two was spent in thinking this over and in digging
and taking levels in the lower steep garden to obtain a suitable
site for a house. When he had worked it out in a series of card-
board models to scale, he took it to the architect, Mr Louis
Salmond, who was intrigued with this little model and astonished
to find that levels and measurements were absolutely correct.
This plan was accepted and handed to Mr Arthur Salmond, who had
won the architectural scholarship and was about to leave for
England. This was the first house he designed in Dunedin, and
to this home we moved on April 2, 1932.

My brother David moved into the old home with his family,
and this arrangement gave my father much happiness. But it was
short lived - within a few months David was moved to the Head
Office of the Public Trust Office in Wellington, and has remained
there ever since.

In the Christmas holidays of their first year there my parents
and I rented a furnished house at Lyall Bay for six weeks, and
were joined for a time by my brother Jack and his wife from
Gisborne. These were very happy weeks for all of us and many
outings were planned to entertain the children - David, Valerie
and Alan - even going as far afield as the Marlborough Sounds
on a steamer excursion.

David (the 3rd) having completed his High School years was

about to commence his medical studies, and if was decided that
he should live with us in Dunedin while training.

In 1934 my parents celebrated their Golden Wedding. The
date, April 2, fell on Easter Monday, so in these few days
holiday a series of celebrations were planned and the whole
family were in Dunedin for the occasion. There was a picnic
for the children at Broad Bay, the scene of our childhood
holidays, a musical evening to which everyone contributed, and
which included my brother James’ first composition "A Song of
Proserpine" which I had the honour of presenting. On the
Sunday afternoon the City Organist, Dr. V.E. Galway, gave us
a private organ recital on the new City organ and concluded
the programme with the "Wedding March". A picture party also
for the grandchildren, and an afternoon and evening reception
at our home, when there was a continuous stream of visitors,
relations, friends, old colleagues and pupils and students and
representatives from many educational bodies. The highlight
was the family dinner party held in the Otago Women’s Club -
the only visitors were my mother’s sister Alice (Bastings),
who had been the bridesmaid, and my father’s sister Jessie
(Thomson). The table was beautifully decorated in golden
colours by the President, Lady Ferguson, a kindness and com-
pliment that was much appreciated and the first occasion on
which a golden wedding party was held in the Club.

The weather was Dunedin’s finest Autumn days, and the
flowers that were handed in from early morning to late evening
turned the house into a bower. Photographs were taken and
the whole event was a special memory for the grandchildren.

In 1937 my father attained his 90th year, and this again
was an occasion for an afternoon and evening reception when
friends and relations and representatives of educational
societies called to pay their respects. Among these was a
small group of ex-pupils of the Old Stone School who had been in
Father’s 5th standard - themselves now old gentlemen, and one
lady. They made a habit of calling on every birthday,
meeting on the Bridge in St. David Street and walking in file
up to our home. On this evening Professor Adams (our friend
"Tom"), insisted on "a song from Professor White" - very
reluctantly my father agreed. He chose an old favourite

"Remember". I think he felt this a little strain, but aston-
ished us all with the vigour and fire with which he sang and
moved us also in the appropriateness of the words "For oh! I
would remembered be in friendship’s truest light by thee - and
not amid life’s busy scene, but calmly with a thought serene".

Time was becoming short now. This was on June 21, and one
only great occasion was left him. This was the Jubilee of the
N.Z. Educational Institute, of which he had been one of the
founders - the first secretary, and later a president.

The meeting was held in Dunedin, and at a large social
gathering in the Concert Chamber my father sat on the platform
as a representative of the 1st Decade. His speech was a
wonderful achievement, he sounded so young, his voice full and
strong, and his subject and manner inspiring. He received
an outstanding ovation from that great gathering of teachers,
very many of them of his own training. As each representative
of the later decades spoke it seemed as if they dropped their
prepared remarks and spoke in admiration and reverence of this
wonderful old teacher of 90.

It was a fitting close to a long and beautiful life. How
I regretted that night that my mothers failing health did not
allow her to be present. I was the only member of the family
to accompany my father, and I regretted deeply that my brothers
were not there to share in my pride and gratitude. At the
close a long, long queue, the length of the hall, formed to
shake hands with this lovable old man. Each one wished to have
a word with him, and I marvelled at his spirit and response to
each individual whom he seemed to have no difficulty in

This was indeed the climax of his life and work, this warm
spontaneous tribute of appreciation and affection.

We came home and sat round the fire with my mother and told
her of this great occasion. She deserved to have been there to
see and share in this tribute, for father so often expressed his
love and gratitude to her for the long years of loving and
supporting companionship they had shared.

Two months later in September my Father showed signs of
a failing strength and spirit. It seemed as if he realized
he would not be much longer with us, and the next few weeks
were sad, as we too realized his long happy life was nearing
its close. My brother James was the greatest comfort to him
and to us during those few trying weeks, with his daily visits
often spending the night. For the last two weeks Father took
to his bed, becoming weaker and gradually relapsing into un-
consciousness. He passed peacefully away on the morning of
October 28, 1937. Rev. Dr Herron (an earlier university
student of my father’s, and our minister) conducted a private
service in our home in the presence of members of the family
and a few special friends. Later we laid him to rest that
lovely spring morning beside his beloved parents and sister
Christina, and the little never forgotten baby daughter.

The magnificent profusion of spring flowers which covered
his grave seemed in their beauty and messages of sympathy to
help and comfort us in our loss.

And so our happy home was forever bereft of his dear
companionship, and we were left with our precious memories to
treasure and inspire us.

From the many hundreds of messages of sympathy and the
tributes paid to my father, I have selected for inclusion only
two - one from Mr Downie Stewart, whose association with my
father was in professional and public work - the other from
Professor T. D. Adams, who was an old and valued friend in our
home, and whose affection for both my parents never allowed
him to pass by their birthdays without a personal visit and
a gift. He was a constant and welcome visitor who shared
with us our joy and enthusiasm for music and in our music

(To my brother) "Ashentree"

V11 Heriot Row,


31 October, 1937.

Dear Renfrew White,
I would like to express to you my sincere sympathy in the

loss you have sustained in the death of your illustrious father.
Though at so ripe an age his passing could not be unexpected,
that can hardly lessen your sense of personal loss.

Many tributes have been paid to your father’s intellectual
attainments and administrative ability, but what impressed me
most was his wisdom, sagacity and judicial commonsense - very
rare qualities that are by no means an invariable accompaniment
of scholarship.

I once saw him preside over a turbulent meeting of graduates
when feeling was running high, and I have never seen a more
impartial or competent chairman. It was always a great pleasure
to me to listen to his quiet measured utterances touched with a
spice of humour on the rare occasions when I met him.

Will you please convey my sympathy to your brothers and to
your mother and sister. As you know Jack was at the Front
with me, and showed me kindness on the hospital ship when he
himself was under disability.

Yours sincerely,

Wm. Downie Stewart.

636 George Street,

Dunedin N.I.


Dear Mrs White,

Our thoughts are very much with you all and of course with
you in especial. You have lost a wonderful husband and father.
But you will, l know, be profoundly grateful that the end came
peacefully. And it came after a very remarkable life, a life
remarkable indeed for its length, but even more for its quality,
its influence and its charm. Professor White has never lacked
evidence of the admiration and affectionate devotion of a multi-
tude of old pupils and other friends, and we have all rejoiced
that he was spared so long to enjoy the culmination of it all at
his ninetieth birthday and the jubliee celebrations of the Educa-
tional Institute, in whose foundation and early development he
had played so great a part.

But there are many of us, very many, who will always think

of him primarily as our friend. His unfailing kindliness
made it always a joy to meet him; his keen intellectual
interests were stimulating; his high moral standards were
never obtruded, but his whole life bore quiet witness to
them; and over all his gifts and graces was shed the
glamour of his rare personal charm.

All who have known what his friendship meant must feel
their hearts go out to you and to each member of your family
now that he is gone from us.

Yours had been a wonderful privilege, but you made the
sum of his achievement possible. It was very clear to see
that far above all the honour he so richly won and so un-
grudgingly received, he placed his joy and pride in his
family life.

Not merely have you throughout all the years lavished on
him all the care that the most devoted affection could
suggest, but the members of your family have all given to
you both the fullest possible need of affection, and
brought you the great joy of worthy achievement and high
estimation among their fellows.

Our kindest thoughts are with you all.

Yours, on behalf of my mother and father
as well as for myself,

Tom Adams.

On October 28/1937 at his residence, 114 St.David Street,
DAVID RENFREW WHITE beloved husband of Ida Macfarlane
White, in his 91st year.
…"for a long period one of the greatest authorities on
Educational matters, not only in Otago but in New Zealand"

…from 0.D.T. October 29, 1937.