Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

26 February 2012

Our 1960 Journey to A New Life in New Zealand. 14.

This is a diary from 1960. The actual entries are in typewriter font. Added comments are in red. The photographs are from that date, some in colour (expensive in those days).

11th February

We had a fine party on 9th in the cabin of two [Australian] girls, Val and Margaret. Margaret disembarked at Fremantle so had a farewell party. Plenty of beer floating about with empty bottles being jettisoned into the sea at frequent intervals.

[Disgraceful pollution to us now with 21st century values, but we thought little of it, especially when, everyday, the ship’s rubbish was thrown overboard to leave a trail of slow sinking detritus across the Indian Ocean. I imagine it still happens but more covertly...]

Finished up at 2.00am but some saw Fremantle come into sight at 5.30am!

When we awoke on 10th we were already in Fremantle; we went down for breakfast but before we could start we had to go to immigration and have our passports scrutinized. The Aussie authorities won’t allow anybody to go ashore until everyone has been screened.

We went ashore at about 10.30am. And we caught the bus into Perth.
[Don King's Park, Perth]

Perth is a beautiful city built on sand. It is very clean and the streets are wide and well surfaced. The people seem to take life quite easily and there is no harsh hooting of motor horns all the time. We went to the Kings Park which gives a perfect panoramic view of Perth. As we entered the park we were struck by the heady scent of the gum trees. The grass is much coarser than in England and is rather like the grass one sees in shops as a display. We looked down on the bay and the city twinkling in the sunlight, and at the base of the hill we were standing on was the new Narrows Bridge of which the Perth people are very proud.

We had lunch in the restaurant at Kings Park. It was a very enjoyable steak and milk shakes and was quite cheap and very hygienically prepared and served.

Later we travelled back to Perth City, had a look around the shops and returned by train to Fremantle past the little suburban shops and beaches, finally over the Swan River back to the ship.
We sailed from Fremantle at 6 pm. We are now sailing around Cape Leeuwin and are gradually coming under the influence of the heavy swell of the Australian Bight. This makes the ship roll like hell.

[Perth was far more modern than I expected. A bright, white city, and as such, in contrast to Fremantle, which had an old-fashioned and scruffy look. I don’t know what I had expected from Perth, something old and colonial perhaps? Trying to converse with the bus driver was my first encounter of an English accent that was so far removed from the ones I was used to that I could hardly understand him. I asked him whether I should pay our fare to him. He replied, taciturnly I thought, ‘Theersaclicktron.’ He had to repeat it three times to me, each time slower than the one before, until I realized that he was saying ‘There’s a collector on.’ From which I gathered that the bus had a conductor on board.]



Blog Archive

Hits Counter


Loaded Web

Blog Directory for Albany, New Zealand


Blog This Here

Blog Flux

Commentary blogs


  • <$BlogCommentAuthor$> // <$BlogCommentDateTime$>


By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.