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Ohariu Valley Oral History : Iris Best

Interview with Iris Best. Recorded on Thursday 3rd December 2009 at the Malvina Major Retirement Home, Johnsonville. Interviewer: Toni Finkle.


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Part 1 Summary (17'05")

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Iris Best recounts how she arrived in the valley as a young bride in 1950 moving into the former house of her Mother-in-Law. A description of household facilities and the farm. Early dual sheep / dairy farming gave way to sheep farming only. The Ladies Guild was the centre of social life.
05'05" Description of Ohariu Valley School and how children would travel to get there. Rural life was made easier due to the fact the Wellington was so close. Children made their own entertainment with horse riding being very popular. The annual rugby game was a highlight in the social calendar.
10'00" On reaching Secondary School age, children would be picked up by taxi and driven to Onslow College. Though the roads were poor in the valley, accidents were few. A description of different social and fund-raising events. Stock were driven up to the Johnsonville sale yards where sales took place on a weekly basis.

Part 2 Summary (06'35")

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Iris Best tells about her children and the excellent shopping facilities which were available in Johnsonville. Visits into the city for shopping or to see shows enabled the family to enjoy city life.
03'35" Gardening was a great pleasure. Farming was the mainstay of the valley with virtually everyone involved with sheep, dairy or poultry farming. This begins to change when subdivision was allowed and rural lifestyle blocks begin to appear but some of the early life-style block owners lacked the skills and knowledge needed.

Part 3 Summary (12'42")

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Changes in the community as the valley developed. The establishment of the Country Club was welcomed in the Valley but was never as popular as it should have been. The activities of the Women's Guild were always popular. Funds raised from the guild's activities used to maintain the local Anglican church.
05'30" Sadness when the local school swimming closed. Memories of the Swiss Club based around Max and Rosina Fuhrer. Iris's daughters move away but her son remains farming in the valley however some older residents have sold-up and moved away.
10'30" Some city dwellers who moved to the valley found life difficult if they have children (not helped by the closure of the local school). Memories of the Ohariu Valley School and the various teachers who taught there.

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