Auckland University

Auck uni clocktowerAfter six years at New Plymouth, it was time for Auckland University and Medical Intermediate for the Dental Course. As my parents, and sister Annette lived in Auckland–at 126 Selwyn Avenue Mission Bay. I stayed with them for the 2 years I was at the Uni.

The subjects taken for the Intermediate were—-Zoology–Physics–Chemistry–Organic Chemistry–Botany. University life was so different to the of NPBHS–as you were your own boss and study was up to the individual. Two to three hours a night–at the least was the minimum–and towards exams much more. I got to know an Auckland Grammar student –Brian Manning. Brian matriculated, and believe it or not had never done a science subject at school. I became his mentor — he lived in Patterson Ave. — about a mile from Selwyn Avenue. Many a day we spent together, going through the bacic sciences. And I may add he was a very good student. Starting from scratch in science subjects at University level was no mean fete. Of course Saturday night was a day off and groups of us used to party on ( and on ) Quite often we used to travel up to Helensville, to the hot springs and have a swim.Very good and relaxing. Of course there was always the same number of “Boys and Girls” In the summer we went to the Parnell Baths on the Waterfront these we salt water and were filled by the tide. The Olymic Pool was a fresh water pool and was in Newmarket. It had 1meter and 3 meter boards and a diving tower and we had great times here, I was really in my element.

These times–1951–1952 were whan the hamburger phase had hit NZ , and on going out to the movies or a party you would move on to a cafe for a hamburger –and get home at 3 in the morning. This of course was before MacDonalds and a Big Mac. Then there was 507 “Food from Heaven”–507 Karagahape Rd. was where T Bones were introduced to Auckland –and it was a real night out. Occasionaly I used to go shooting rabbits at Bombay-about 40 miles from Auckland-with Pop–on a Sunday. Could guarantee a couple of rabbits. Pop had a friend Bobby Evans at Bombay and we would have a drink in his garage — not alcohol in the house, said Mrs Evans. Groups of us used to go up Orewa at the Xmas holidays — go to all the dances, and frequent the Orewa and Waiwera hotels, and also Silverdale. And swim all day.

During the holidays we used to arrange all sorts of jobs to help pay the way for Uni. My main job in the lamb season –over Xmas was at Hellabys Abbotoirs. I worked in the Casings Department i.e. Sausage Skins — and the adour was not too good. This job carried on a regular basis in the Xmas holidays while I was at the Dental school. There was plenty of over time and we could gete 30 pounds a week–which was a lot of money. But, 12 hours, 5 days a week and 8 hours Sat. and Sun. This of course at the height of the season. At the end of the working day, when the slaughtering chain was closed down, there would be lambs livers sent down the shute–where the Casings had come down during the day– a sort of bonus, and all Lamb’s Fry should be eaten fresh –i.e. on the day of the kill—beautiful. There were a lot of Maori Boys working at the freezing works, and after the weekends there was a role call for those that died on the roads in motorbike accidents, this was in the days before helmets–maybe one or two a weekend–Maoris and motorbikes did not really mix well–by the way thousands worked in these treezing works jobs. Other employment was –Post Office–Labourer–Packing Sandsoap–Chemical Company, Kempthorne and Prosser–Shovelling Coal,by the railroad truck load with others–Making coathangers– etc. etc.

When it came to Capping Time and the Ball–we would usually have a pre Ball party at 126–not that we were being capped but I suppose it was a good excuse for a party–a good time was had by all !!

Our age group was called up for Compulsory Military Traininig. This started of with the orientation week, which was to decide which branch of the armed forces you were to go in. This happened at the Papakura Army Camp. In the morning there were IQ tests to be done. I must have done alright as when I went home I had a call from Wing Commander of the Auckland Group and he asked me if I wanted to join the Air Force wing as a pilot trainee. I talked to Dad about this. The AIr Force training was intense and would have taken up too much of the Uni. year –so it was decided against. So it was into the army!! Most of this CMT was done in the Otago University Medical Corp (O.U.M.C)– at Middlemarch in Central Otago–more of that later.

The first year went very quickly. I really enjoyed Organic Chemistry.At exam time I passed Zoology–and just missed out on the other subjects. Why this result I do not know. Naturally the second year was a breeze as I had done the subjects before, ,I saw a lot of movies with Vara McNabb, a friend of the family. Some days we would see 3 movies–quantity not quality. And we would be chewing Buzz Bars–Mars Bars now and an ice cream at interval–not good for the teeth !!

The second year exams gave results that would be good enough for Medical School–but it was Dental school for me –and down to Dunedin.


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