NZ Conscientious Objectors
David Gray, seated centre left, after being forcibly dressed in uniform aboard a troop ship bound for Europe, while another objector is forced into uniform.
During World War I and II members of the fellowship in New Zealand objected to performing military service. Although this was not official policy of the fellowship, many adult male members went to prison camp but a few members chose to perform medical services with the armed services.
New Zealand Government WW1 Archive records for 40 members of the fellowship are summarised in the table below and also available for download at the bottom of this page. The records include David Gray who was forceably deported to Europe along with other COs, some to be taken to the front lines and sentenced to detention repeatedly for refusing to obey orders.
Scans of the original NZ Army records are available at the bottom of this page for the following individuals:
Conscientious Objectors at Hautu Prison Camp (WW2)
Newspaper reports of the hearings to determine whether each member who had been selected for compulsory military service was to be exempt from service or sent to prison camp are available on the NZ Newspaper Reports page and are summarised on the NZ History page.
After WW2 ended, the head worker for New Zealand (Willie Hughes) issued the following statement at the final summer convention for 1945-46:
A series of poems describing life in the WW2 prison camps were written by Wilson Gordon, a member of the fellowship at that time. In 1997 he collated and published the poems.This Harmless Few - A Conchie's Tale, by Wilson Gordon1I'd like in rhyme to tell you why,I'm stranded at Hautu.*Of first my call, my journey thereAnd what I now must do.So with my pen, I'll scribble downWhat I can recollect,Though meagre detail to explain,You only can expect.2One day, it was the fourth of MarchOf nineteen forty one,A ticket in Bob Semple's 'Tats',*I heard that I had won.'Course with his war I don't agree,So then began the fun.To him I wrote and I explained,I still could love the 'Hun'. *3A few days passed then notice cameThat I appear beforeSome M.D. men who would reveal*How fit I was for war.I went along and felt quite shy,As others were there too,Whom I did know, and feared they'd sneer,When they saw what I'd do (or not do).4First I was asked what branch I chose,I said "There's naught I'll do".Then they examined me and foundI only was grade two. *When to the captain I was brought,And ordered there to takeThe army oath which I refused,His snarl fair made me shake.5At length, word came for me to goTo the Dunedin courtTo state my case so that the boardCould furnish their report.July the thirty-first, at tenThey fixed the time and dateAs nearer drew the day and hourMy pulse increased its rate.6The statement I'd already sentI knew they had on handSo 'long I went, them to impressI'd firmly by it stand.At their request, to prove I'd heldThese views for many years,Two witnesses I'd asked to come,They too, sure had their fears.7Bartholomew the chairman was,Haggit did prosecute,Then Price and Hodgson did completeThis gang of shrewd repute.I'd hate disgruntled to appear,Or utter words unkind,Yet one must doubt, if by fair meansThey their decisions find8I must admit, my knees fair shookMy tummy too did churn.As up into the witness boxThe nearer came my turn.Once there, more confidence I had,Knowing my cause was right.My eyes too strayed to friends behind,This made my heart feel light.9They questioned me to find out whenAnd why I held this view.I said Christ's message taught me soAnd in my heart I knew.They tried to get me off my guard,Really ‘below belt' hits.Such wrangling seemed of little use,'Twas more a game of wits.10With my round o'er they asked for thoseWho'd backed my word as true.Jim Pickering I called uponAnd Joe Bailone too.They both spoke, how they'd known me longTo share with them one mind.By this they knew, that same as theyFor war no place I'd find.11The Board, now satisfied, they hadOf evidence enough.Their heads together put, as thoughSolving a problem tough.Though brief, intense was the suspense,We waited all unnervedOnly to hear the chairman say"Decision is reserved".12Though glad to have tins ordeal o'erI felt I'd like to hideKnowing the papers' court reportsWould surely hurt my pride.That afternoon at work time draggedMy thoughts weren't on my jobAs I thought what the 'Star' might sayMy heart did harder throb.13At any rate, a fair reportI'll say it gave of me.It said, I said, I'd not be partOf war machinery.Next morning early I aroseReal keen the 'Times' to see.The nasty way it took me offGreatly embarrassed me.14To go to work, and face my matesThe best in me it took.Cold, the reception most gave me,With a disgusted look.Nerve wracking I'll admit it wasAnd anxious was I tooTo know for my case to decide,Which way the dice they threw.15On my way home the 'Star' I boughtFrom it to learn my fate,To see my case had been dismissedDid end my mind's debate.So home I went to break the newsBut got a greater shockA letter there awaiting meThe wind from me did knock.16It was an order clear and plain,Next day that I reportTo Army Heads, who would for meA 'Vital Points' job sort.*It did cause much alarm that theySo soon should pounce on me.It seemed my case was cut and dried,And still I think so, see!17I'd likely that appointment keptAnd been snared there and thenHad I not known, that doing such,Did mean six months for Ben. *So I discussed it with some friendsAnd we did all agree,To send a note, but keep well clear,The wisest course would be.18So pen to paper I did putAnd said, how to the BoardI'd aired my views on 'army' work,And meant my every word.'Twould not consistent be for meTheir order to obey.It now remained to see how longA free man I would stay.19The next few days I'll ne'er forget,We all were so concerned.It nearly broke my heart, the wayMy friends, my welfare yearned.I knew how hard 'twould be for MumWhen came the parting day.And sister Nell, my dearest pal,Would fret herself away.20As yet there seemed no settled law,For dealing with our kindBut I just felt whate'er my fate,I'd be to it resignedStill words of cheer I'll give to thoseWho yet must face the fray'Cause things which seemed as mountains greatLike molehills passed away.21I now do laugh to think how oft,Some friends bade me farewellExpecting 'ere we’d meet again,I'd be shut in a cell.But months passed by, no 'bluey' came,*'Twas good that liberty.Yet rather keen was I to knowMy final destiny.22My workmates did bear with me wellTill threat of Jap's attack,They then were riled when I declared,I'd still not do my whack.I'll ne'er forget, how much it meant,To have Jim Keenan there.The way he stood by me, did makeMy burden light to bear.23Round mid November we did hearOf a CO.'s abode*Away up Rotorua wayMiles from towns or railroadWhere we would be detained and fedAs long as War held swayAnd for good work and conduct marksGet one and three a day.24As I did hear how other boysTo there had their fare paidThat the Convention I would miss*It made me more afraid.Although at times, to it attend,my hopes seemed very smallThe very week did come aroundAnd still no further call.25Monday, December the fifteenth,Convention two days hence.Assured I felt of being thereNo need of more suspenseBut yet that night I got a scareWhen I came home for teaMy heart went pit-a-pat to seeA 'john' awaiting me.*26He said the Army had advisedThat I did write to sayI would refuse at any costTheir order to obey.It was their task to interviewEach one who did thus chooseAnd make a statement of the groundsOn which they did refuse.27Before he left, I asked him whenThey'd likely summons me.He said, he did not think it wouldTill after Christmas be.So I did tell him, how I'd plannedA little holiday.And if he called within two weeksI'd likely be away.28He seemed quite satisfied to know,Where I could then be foundIf it so happened that he mustBefore then come aroundI thought it best to tell him thisLest when he called on meHe'd think I purposely had madeA break for liberty.29So now the skies once more were clearFor a short time at least.If nothing else, 'twould tide me o'erThe coming four days' 'feast'For this it meant, I must from workBe granted two days' leaveThough well I knew, that it would notBe easy to achieve.30My plea, it flatly was refusedO'er this I did not pineBut independence chose to show,I said I would resign.So, that Wednesday the seventeenth,The last day was for me,I was glad from the NZR*To be completely free.31Convention much too soon did pass,But what it meant to me'Though endless words on it I wroteRevealed it would not be.To help clear up, and store awayThe tents etc. there.It was again a privilegeI've long rejoiced to share.32Next day or so I spent at homeWith nothing much to doSo being asked to give a handI went to Timaru.At Lewis's farm, I helped to milkSo nothing would deterThe boys from getting the full timeAlong at Winchester.*33I thoroughly enjoyed those days,'Twas good that change of airAnd too, most fortunate I wasTo get to meetings there.The last two days, a neighbour's boyDid to the cows attendSo off I went to Winchester,And there spent the weekend.34On Monday, I did stay behindTo give a helping hand.It was a day I'll long recallSpent with that happy band.The evening spent in Gray's front room,Did cap a glorious dayAs hymns we sang, to music sweet,All cares did fade away.35Memorable that day was too,'Cause word from Mum I gotTo say the Bobby called again,And summons he had brought.By Saturday, the message saidThat I was home to be.He said he would be back that nightThe bluey to give me.36Well knowing that the time was shortTill we would parted beNellie and I did plan we shouldOur friends together see.A royal time I'd say we hadWith folks around those partso better tonic could there be,For those with feeble hearts.37Nought else to do, but face the factsWhen Saturday came roundReluctantly we caught the train,And got home safe and sound.The Bobby seemed to judge quite wellOn which train we would beSo promptly he did come around,And summons gave to me.38Then anxiously I read it throughTo see how long I hadAnd found it was, near three full weeks,So that was not so bad.The twenty-third of January,Friday, at 10 a.m.I was required to face the charge,Against me, brought by them.39With all this time yet to fill in,Once more I went away.This time, to Footes, cause they were keen*I help them with their hay.With my time up, they still had muchEssential work to doAnd that I was more use to themThan 'doing time' they knew.40So they applied to those in charge,That my case be adjournedTheir intervention did not work,From the reply, they learned.My two weeks there went all too quick,I did enjoy it all.Especially, that I could oftOn Bairds and Wixes call. *41The last few days I spent at homeAnd bidding friends farewellAs near approached the evil dayIt on my nerves did tell.Still, little time I had to fretMy friends were all so kindTheir cheery words encouraged meThat joy in all I'd find.42The full events of those few days,I could not write in verseBut things still clear within my mindI briefly shall rehearse.The Somervilles and other friends,On Tuesday night came roundAnd a sponge cake that Annie madeWas tasty we all found43On Wednesday night at Littlebourne,As we together metThe atmosphere was such that ICan well remember yet.Bailones kindly asked, that allFor supper should remain,To say good-bye and wish me well,Until we met again.44At Giles' home I thought it goodMy last free night to spend,'Cause long I'd loved their fellowship,They were friends to depend.So many friends they asked along,An evening rare we hadA happy spirit did prevail,Though some at times looked sad.45With my old friend, George Baird,At home to spend the night with me,We didn't have much time for sleep,Our tongues were far too free.To have him there, also George Wix,That kept us all well cheered'Cause otherwise, that Mum and NellWould fretful be, I feared.46I still feel queer, as I do dwellOn that last morn at home.Of how perplexed I felt at times,As I around did roam.It was to me a problem great,To know just what to packNot being sure what was allowedNor when I would be back.47I went to see the Georges offAboard the 9 a.m.And how I longed that I were freeSo I could go with them.Back home I went and did enjoyA good strong cup of tea.Which I did drink to make my nervesAs steady as can be.48The time had come, that I must takeMy final look aroundAnd say good-bye to that wee 'flat'Where happiness I'd found'Twas hard to think, that 'Home sweet Home',I never more may see.Of course by now I am well weaned,So cannot worried be.49With Mum and Nellie, one each sideWe set out for the 'Court',A place we wouldn't without good cause,Ourselves choose to report.As in my mind I travel backTheir faces clear I see,Though they their spirits kept up wellThey showed anxiety.50'Twas good to see Tom Graham thereAnd Joe Bailone too.It made me feel much more at home,To see a few I knew.When ten did strike we all sat thereAnd waited in suspenseAs different ones their charges faced,Our feelings grew more tense.51As others did their sentence get,Who were defaulters too*I guessed my fate would be as theirs,Which soon for sure I knew.When I was called, I forward walkedAnd in the box did stand.The prosecutor then read outThe evidence at hand.52When S.M. Bundle asked me ifThat evidence was trueI said it was, and then the chargeI pleaded guilty to.And when the reasons for my choiceI briefly had explainedHis verdict was, one month's H.L.*Then till war's end be detained.53The hardest part then came for those,To me so near and dear.To see me ushered out the backWould surely bring a tear.Though glum this subject may appear,It was of interest,To go through what would help fit oneTo be a prison 'guest'.54Across the passage from the CourtInto a little roomThey placed me with three other boys,Who shared with me like doom.I'll mention just their Christian namesCyril, Jack and Dick'Cause if the censors see surnamesThey score them out real quick.55We each did introduce ourselves,And for a short time talkedWe then were taken out from there,And through a yard we walked.Into the glum Police StationOur escort did us takeAnd in the Watch-house, thoroughly,Our pockets they did rake.56They took a record of our names,And all particulars,Such as the colour of our hairOur eyes, birthmarks and scars.When stripped of all we did possess,Except in what we stoodIt now was first time in our livesTo sample jail-birds' food.57From the Watch-house they herded usAll into one old cell.Where on bare forms we sat and talked,And ate our meals as well.11.30 was the timeWhen we in single fileInto the kitchen now we marched,By one with grumpy style.58We each took up a mug of teaWith milk and sugar in,Pressed beef and spuds and buttered bread,Thrown on a plate of tin.When taken back into the cellWe did the best we could,With spoons, the only means we had,Of cutting up our food.59I must make mention, that there wereSome other chaps there tooWho dined with us, and gave us hintsOf what to say and do.They warned us we should throwawayAll scraps the cook could warm,Or we would get them back next meal,In some concocted form.60Then next we put our empty plates,Beside the kitchen doorAnd hung around till three o'clock,Which seemed like hours more.They then our cases did inspect,And gave us out our books,Pyjamas, dental gear and pads,But kept our pens, the rooks!61Till half past three we four C.O.sThe time together spent.And we felt sure that place would causeLaw-breakers to repent.If nothing else, it so touched us,These grim bars all about.It made us vow, when free again,We'd let all caged birds out!62To us it seemed, yet far too soonFor tea and to retire.Still, one must knuckle down,And do what they require.So we picked up some stew and bread,Also the tea once more.The warder raved when Dick declared,Hot water he'd prefer.63Now with our food and other gear,Which we had been allowedWe went with him who did delightIn orders harsh and loud.Through bolted doors, long passagesAnd up two flights of stairsTo where we were each given a cell,And left there with our wares.64I don't think one could fully graspWhat's really meant by 'clink'Until he hears these clanging keys,Then left alone to think.Just four grey walls, and furnishingsOf bare necessity.One window, high, and barred, through whichThe sky alone you see.65I tried to read, but found it hardOn it to concentrate.I could not help but think of thoseAt home in saddened state.At intervals through the peep-hole,An eye would look at me.This tickled me, it seemed so strangeThey so concerned should be.66'Tis really great to lie in bed,While others wait on you.To have your light turned on and off,Seems too good to be true.At nine o' clock the light went out,Then I slept really wellExcept at times when some poor drunkWould start to kick and yell.67At half past six, the warder said,"Get up and make your bed.Pick up your mug, and plate and spoon"Then us downstairs he led.Into the kitchen we did go,And at his sharp command,To do the dishes, I did giveAnother chap a hand.68While there, I thought it a good chance,To try where Dick had failed,So said, hot water we'd prefer,And this, my plea, prevailed.How they did grant that small request,It does surprise me yet.'Cause mostly when one asks for thingsA snarl is all they get!69When we had washed and breakfast hadOf porridge, milk and bread,With that cleaned up, we hung aroundWondering what lay ahead.We wondered where the month we'd spend.That very day we foundThe coming Monday we would beFor Paparoa bound.70We wondered if the change would beFor better, or for worse.But anyway, it needful was,To thus complete our course.As if we were real criminals,Our finger-prints they took.Though it passed time, it did seem strangeWhen treated like a crook.71At ‘leven a.m. we lunched againOn buttered bread and stew,From then the minutes we did count,Till our folks came at two.Mum, Nellie and Fred HackworthyI was real thrilled to see,Ten minutes all the time allowedWas far too short for me.72It was a great relief to allTo have that little chatBy which we showed we weren't downcast,Or anything like that.From when they left 'til half-past threeThe time did seem to fly,While we ate cakes and fruit they broughtTill we were busting nigh.73We now queued up for stew again,Or rather mince this time.Then off to our confinement cellsWe up the stairs did climb.That "one gets used to anything"I'd proved that saying true.'Cause when locked up that second nightMy cares did seem but few.74A pencil that I'd somehow got,Enabled me to writeAnd give my friends of prison life,A really good insight.While writing that, the time did fly,And 10, before I knew'Twas 'lights out' time, so in the darkUndressing I must do.75This wasn't any hardship though,With nought to lose or find.Coat hangers, stud box, trouser press,Such cares I'd left behind.Nor yet was there the slightest riskOf claiming the wrong bed.So in I hopped, and very soon,To all the world was dead.76A bouncing, red-haired young upstart,That type not nice to knowNext morning raised us from our densTo breakfast we should go.Additional to our burgoo*Some saveloys we got,A special treat so we were told,Which Sunday always brought.77The sun that morning shone on us,While cooped up in that yard,It cheered and helped us to forgetAll that we were debarred.E 'en so, r could not help but think,Of those met at St ClairAnd how my seat would vacant be,That on my mind did bear.78At dinner time they gave us soupThen with our spuds and stewTo make another Sunday treatThey gave us cabbage too!I'll mention now, while on this theme,One extra, quite a spree!Beside our usual mince and bread,One buttered bun for tea.79With dinner past, they lent us all,Our razors for a whileBut with the only mirror there,To shave clean was a trial.Now we were shaved, and all dressed upBut still nowhere to go.So only hoped someone would call,And interest in us show.80Though told that visitors were notAllowed in on Sunday,When Nellie came along on specThey sure enough gave way.It thrilling was, to see her smile,And hear what news she brought.Though very brief the time allowedIt meant to me a lot.81The next event that afternoon,Is well worth mention too,A Brethren chappie came alongA service was in view.The organ no one else could playSo I consented to,And with the hymns the preacher chose,I did my way bluff through.82That little interlude went well,We did enjoy his call.He also jam and lollies broughtTo share around us all.'Twas now near time that we againWere locked up for the night,But that we could some more time pass,It suited us alright.83Two doctors had been called, to seeIf we were fit and well.They made us strip, then cough and jump,Our soundness for to tell.They said they must examine us,Our fitness for to see,Before to the Detention CampsWe could admitted be.84This suited us, to play around'Til five o'clock did chime.For us to be sent off to bed,This seemed a better time.'Til nine o'clock the time passed well,While r wrote home and readThen left alone without a lightI thought the best place bed85On Monday, at the usual time,We rose, and breakfast had.The prospects of our trip that day,Did make us feel quite glad.With us checked out, and two escorts,Instructions given them,We went to catch the train to leave,Eight forty-five a.m.86That parting which had otherwiseBeen very hard to bearWent with a swing 'cause many friendsTo wish me well were there.We four together took our seatsWhen all goodbyes were said.Last glances took of long loved haunts,As round those bays we sped.87Our escorts sat in seats behind,To keep on us their eyes.We took no risks 'cause we could seeThat on them were no flies.It tickled us to get consent,For ought we needs must do,Especially, when they hadTo take us to the 100.88At 'Mihi' I could see friends waveWith teatowels, sheets and all.I longed that I could jump off there,And on my old friends call.Ivy Ward and her small sonWho were for Studholme boundCame through at times to talk with me,So, quick, the time went round.89At many stops friends met the train,Brought sweets and fruit for me.To have so many thoughtful friends,Amazed my mates to see.To watch me having such a timeThe escorts they were narked.And that it was no picnic trip,They caustically remarked.90At five o'clock we Hornby reached,And on us were all eyes,To see us board the prison van,They seemed to show surprise.A warder too, came in the back,To see we did no wrong.To Paparoa three miles off,We then did bump along.91Though anxious to our bearings get,Little we could see.With casual glimpses out the backContented we must be.A ghostly track the last part was,Through rows of trees it ran.The drive went right to the main door,And there we left the van.92Large swinging doors of iron barsThe warder did unlock.At his command, we took our gearAnd through those doors did walk.We now stood in a corridorWith cells upstairs and down.It pleased us well, 'twas spotless cleanAs any inn in town.93They took our cases, overcoats,And stripped our pockets bare.Toothbrush, and paste, and certain books,Was all allowed us there.Now from a wagon we took tins,Our dinners were inside.With them we went to cells upstairsWhere we must needs abide.94They made me put my shoes outsideAnd then the door was locked.So I nosed around, and likely tooThat to myself I talked.Besides a spoon, a knife and fork,Did seem to me a boon,For at the last place, for all mealsWe only had a spoon.95The cell in most ways was the sameAs that in which I'd been.Yet, much more cheery it appearedWith fresh paintwork, and clean.Two sheets, also, a pillow slip,Quite welcome extras were.A small sack mat some kind soul madeRelieved a floor so bare.96I well do mind that very nightWe hadn't been there longWhen on the wireless, there installed,Was sung the prisoners song.That set went for a while each nightBut news and chimes they bar.'Twas good some music for to hearYet, oft I wished it far.97Next morning, early I aroseQuite lost as to the time,But I soon learned to judge it byThe height the sun did climb.Now swinging doors and clanging keysAnd warders' voices gruff,Though yet this all was strange to me,One month taught me enough.98At half past six a warder didUnlock my door and thenFor different things to get and give,Some chaps came to my den.The first two had a big round tinI gave what they asked for.The next a billy can did have,My mug of tea to pour.99Next, two between them bore a trayWith porridge, and some hash.I took a tin of each, but oh!That hash was awful trash.A warder followed up behindTo end that grand parade.He looked in, grunted, slammed the doorThen near two hours I stayed.100They sent the other 'cons' to work,*Then opened up my cell.Next how to fold, put up my bed,An orderly did tell.Our plates we placed outside the doorAnd swept our dust there too,Then cleaners to complete the jobThe rest was left to do.101They now collected us four ladsAnd took us for a bath.For whistling, I did get told offWhile walking 'long the path.When we undressed, to have our bath,Our clothes they put away.All we now wore was prison garbTill our discharging day.102With coat and vest of borstal greyAnd thick white moleskin pantsFor naught but jailbirds to appearWe stood but little chance.We too got underclothes and socks,A hankie, belt and shirt.A white hat, sandals and big bootsWhich tender feet did hurt.103Once more they took our names and age,Our colour, height and weight.With all the records now of us,To break would sure mean fate.Now all equipped and well sized upOur escort led us forthTo where for strength and staminaOne soon finds out their worth.104They gave to us a shovel each,And pointed to a heap,First sight of which, enough to makeSome poor chap nearly weep.To get this shingle, trucks drove up,A busy time had weWith warders standing over us,No loafing there could be.105Besides the 'screws' there driving usAnother watched all round.His place was in a sentry-boxBuilt high up from the ground.When we must take a toilet breakOr drink to keep us cool,To him we had to raise our handLike children in a school.106Eleven fifty was the timeA dinner whistle blew.I now was keen to meet a friend,Stan Chamberlain, I knew.Those working round the shingle pitAll lined up there, two deep.But yet, of him I saw no sign.As I along did peep.107The warder yelled out "Coats and shirts"And what is meant by thatIs that we do our buttons upAnd straighten up our hat.We now marched with some other gangsInto a high walled yard.'Twas easy seen, the way some slouchedThat they were fair dog tired.108Stan came in with the garden gang,So we were pleased to meet,Although a good yarn we desiredWe were not spared that treat.The order came to "take our lines"Then "to the left extend",Remove our hats, put legs apartWhile searched from end to end.109We closed our ranks, marched through a gate,And entered in a door,Then put our boots in pigeon holesFrom there our sandals wore.Now, in the corridor again,We lined up in two rows.If any whistled, talked or grinned,We heard some threatening woes.110Right turn, and front rank forward march.The next command was given.We then picked up our tins of whatThey gave to keep us living.At last we were locked in our cellsAnd left alone to dine.The food though plain, was plentiful,Yet not just what we'd pine.111They gave us ample time to eat,And have a little restThen, near to me, a gong rang outFor work again I guessed.With clanging keys, unlocking doors,The warders soon came round.A snarl we got, if to come out,We were not ready found.112We put our plates outside the door,As after breakfast time.With empty tins, in doorway stood,To move them was a crime,Till all the cells had been unlocked,A gruff voice then did say,"Forward step, right and left turn",Then started us away.113Downstairs we went, and put our tinsUpon the wagon there,Changed from our sandals into bootsThen sent outside we were.Once more in the assembly yard,We lined up in our rows,To let the Super look us o'er,*A little while did pose.114In blazing sun, we forward marched,Out to the pit again.What with 'hard labour' and the heat,We barely stood the strain.At times, I wondered if I'd lastTill four-fifty came around.The knock-off whistle then did blow,That was a welcome sound.115We now lined up, marched in, got searchedAs I've already told.A tin of porridge for our tea,To me seemed treatment cold.Before the warder locked my cellHe made me strip stark nude.But glad to say, to search me thus,They did no more intrude.116A summary I now shall makeOf what our rations were.Besides cooked food I've spoken ofAs being given there,In place of porridge, rice we got,Each Thurs' and Monday night.Though polished, gluey, boiled to death,It was a change alright.117To supplement our midday meal,Each Sunday and WednesdayWe got plain duff, such heavy stuff,We might as well eat clay.Our tea was coloured morn and noon,With soda I would say.Cocoa at night, was fair enough,Though, the anaemic way.118Each day about one pound of bread,Of either white or brown,A meagre quarter pint of milkTo help our porridge down.Of butter half a pound we gotTo see us out four days,Two pound of syrup for a monthSoon went in different ways.119For me, not using sugar much,Twelve ounces seemed a lot.But how to make that last a week,Some chaps found they could not.An ounce of 'bacco every weekAnd tissues once in two,Four matches daily, all such thingsFor bartering did do.120A basin, and a two quart jugOf water in my cellI used for drink and cleaning teethAnd washing with as well.Well, so much for our dietaryI hope I've made it plain.So now from where I did divertI will start off again.121When I had tea, I made my bed.,Read and did meditate.'Though yearning for an evening strollI had to bear my fate.When lights went out at nine o'clockI soon to all was dead.Next morn I felt quite stiff and soreAs I crawled out from bed122The routine now was much the sameAs told of yesterday'Til nearly eight, when with the restTo work I went away.So for the month each working dayPassed off in the same style.Though not too pleasant at the time,I'm glad I spent that while.123Each Friday night came none too soon,'Twas then we got our mail.Words could not tell what it did meanThrough lonely hours in jail.We lucky were that up till then,All letters were let in.But since, I've heard, concerning them,Restrictions did begin.124On Saturday and Sunday mornOur writing for to doTo tables in the corridorWe were escorted to.Pen, paper, ink and envelopesAll this they did provide.We could write six of one sheet eachWith writing on each side.125On Saturday we did not workBut other things did do.All went for showers in one room,Could get our haircut too!Our writing also took some timeAnd in the afternoonA while we had with visitors,That came and went too soon.126I may as well give some detailsOf visiting in there.For twenty minutes, we could talk,To four who close friends were.Most very fortunate I wasThat some on me did call.Besides my Mother, others came,'Twas great to see them all.127The room in which we visited.,I can't too well describe.A bench and bars stopped close contactAs if an hostile tribe.Two warders always were on guard.,On us their eyes were fastIn case between us and our friendsThere anything was passed128Except when writing or with friendsAnd most of Sunday too,All us C.O.s were in one yardNear thirty of a crew.We were kept well supplied with booksSo we could lie and read.,Talk of old days, or yet, discussRites of each other's creed.129Each week we had to change our clothes,Our sheets and pillowslip.If they weren't ready when called forWe were sure of a rip.With no fast rules to make us shaveWe were no handsome crowdJust one blade in our cell they'd let,Blade razors weren't allowed.130First thing on Sunday we would takeOur blankets out to shake.Then different breeds of preachers came,Church services to take.A service for the AnglicansAnd Catholics combined,I did attend, but outward show,Was all that I could find131The twentieth of February,A Friday afternoon,It seemed the time would never passTill three o'clock from noon.A warder now would take us inTo where we had a bath.We hoped when walking from that pitWe'd ne'er more see that path.132After our bath, and getting backInto our civvie clothesWhich had been cleaned and pressed for us,'Twas grand once more in those!Again they put us on the scalesOur change of weight to see.I'd little changed when partly dressed.,I then was ten stone three.133They gave us back most of the thingsWe lost when searched before,Our money I suppose we'll getWhen we're set free once more!We now got locked up with our teaBefore the rest came in.For us to mix with others now,Did seem an awful sin.134My feelings now were running highWith prospects of our move,‘Cause in one month I'd had enoughOf that one drearsome groove.Next morning it seemed hours we spentIn such a gloomy yard,Besides high walls and covered top,All chance of exit barred135There's two more things I'd like to addSince I've those days reviewed.The first, a doc examined us,With methods really crude.The second, how I just escapedThe dummy, I must tell.*This was, because they warned me thriceFor whistling in my cell!136It wasn't far off dinner timeWhen two john-hops arrived*Though then not sure what lay ahead,Through all I have survived.A warder took us forth to beOfficially checked out.Relieved we felt as we did takeOur final look about.137With cases we went out the door,Were ushered in a van.They locked us in, then speedilyWe off to Christchurch ran.That bus was like a butcher's vanSo little we could seeTill at the main police stationWe in a yard were free!138Straight from the van, they put us fourTogether in one cell.In turn to office we were calledThe same old tales to tellOf age etc, and againFor contraband were searched.A scanty lunch we then were servedWhile on some bunks we perched.139A young cop called, and did adviseThat night we sailing were.Till then we thought the whole weekendWe may needs sojourn there.This mixed my feelings, ‘cause though ICared not for that glum show,Lest Sunday visitors I'd miss,I was quite loath to go.140When Mum and Nellie came alongThey let me sit with them,But johns around, did latitudeOf conversation stem.Mr Wills and Norm MuldoonAlso came for a while.But the short time we were allowedDid rather cramp our style.141When my folks asked when we would leave,The wrong time they did say,Expecting when they came along,We'd be well on our way.They also asked if on the trainThey could accompany me.Their chins did drop when plainly toldAllowed it would not be.142A decent time was given usThen shortly after sixThere carne the usual waste of timeTo formal business fix.They trusted us with all our goods,Except our L.S.D.*In Black Maria now once moreWe four could little see.143Now at the station, very soonWith our escort at handThat Black Maria seemed to drawThe eyes of all around.Conspicuous I'll say we feltAs from it we emerged.But we, to such, soon hardened up,Self-consciousness was purged.144I looked around, but saw no signOf either Mum or NellSo hoped that to the bluff put onThey could the real truth tell.Our luck was in, the train was late,So they arrived in time.Some other friends too wished me wellAs we aboard did climb.145As john-hops go, our young escortWas decent as could be.Re kindly gave permission forMy folks to sit with me.This favour seemed a special treat,As I've said they were toldAccomp'ning me was not allowed,In words so harsh and cold146Relevant facts I could unfoldOf Paparoa jailBut when some day we meet again,I'll sure tell many a tale.At Lyttleton we did alightAnd there said last goodbyes.To see them leaving in good heartDid pleasantly surprise.147The boat was there awaiting usSo nought had we to doBut climb the gang-way, then downstairsOur berths were taken to.From times I'd travelled on my ownThings welcomely had changed,I had no cares re berths and fares,All that had been arranged.148A four berth cabin to ourselves,Did suit us four boys grandOur escort gave us leave to roam,As soon as out from land.Free men to roam around that shipSeemed too good to be trueBut we sure made the best of it'Cause short it was we knew.149Though like a dream, to be on deckInhaling fresh sea air,As the South Island faded outOur spirits dampened were.We supper had in both saloons,And then some cakes I got.Disregarding ill effects,We simply gorged the lot!150Our Dick went early off to bedDead scared he'd feed the fish.We stopped up till we had done,And seen all we did wish.The Rangitira made good time,'Twas quite a peaceful night.When early we went up on deckThe harbour was in sight.151As up the harbour we did steamI hopefully surmised,I'd see some friends, 'cause by a wire,The Schiebs had been advised.Now Wellington came close in viewSo I did stretch my neck,And sure enough, friends on the wharfI spotted from the deck.152My feet now itched to hit the wharfAnd greet those waiting there,But to barge forth there, on my own,I wisely did not dare.It tried my patience and my prideTo like a little dogStick closely to my master's heels,'Twas like stuck in a bog.153It too embarrassed me at times,Though I don't want to brag,To have to push past womenfolkAnd leave them to their swag.When finally we hit the wharfThe girls were soon at handBesides the twins, Doreen was there,To see them all was grand.154I had to keep on tailing upBehind our little bandBut I enjoyed the few words passedAnd hearty shakes of hand.Besides us five, two more policeAll in one car must pileThen dashed straight to the lock-up there,I'd think less than a mile.155We once more were stripped of our wares,At least they thought they didBut we by now were getting shrewdSo useful things had hidMy wristlet watch they didn't spot,'Twas too far up my arm.Some money too we hid from viewLest it should cause alarm.156Once more they took a full accountOf all concerning us.It seemed a shame that at each placeTime should be wasted thus.By now all our particularsLike parrots we could rhymeBut strange enough our features wereQuite different each time!157Round 7.30 it would beWhen that was all gone through.We four were now locked in what wasA cooler named quite trueAnd by the time our breakfast cameOur hunger we could feelSo we thoroughly enjoyedAn appetising meal.158Then they refused our right to read,So we just had to talkOr sit and think, or to keep warm,Across the cell to walk.The meal dished up at dinner-timeAnd also that for teaWere far ahead of what we didIn other lock-ups see.159When talking to the girls that mornThey said they'd do their bestTo get along, and luckilyThey had their efforts blest.So to the Watch-house I was calledWhere they awaited meBut with the many ears aroundWe could not talk too free.160Five minutes was the time allowedAnd soon as that was o'erReluctantly we said goodbyeWhen shown to the door.Another couple too now calledWhose names I can't make rhymeThough hours I would have liked with themFive minutes was the time.161It tickled us, the differenceBetween the Bobbys there.The chappies who admitted us,Far too officious were.To permit fruit within our cellThey flatly did refuseYet one in charge that afternoonLet's have all we could use.162'Round half past six, our escorts cameTo take us out again.Our next lap, we must travel, onThe seven fifteen train.No prison van they had on handAnd so it pleased us well,To walk along was such a changeFrom all day in a cell!163We were real glad to see four seatsTogether booked for us.Our escort in a seat in front,Seemed to be on a fussBecause a pretty little maidBy chance now shared his seat.So his attentions turned from usTo playing hands and feet!164Excepting when the guard carne through,Our tickets he must showOr for a drink or some such thingWe'd ask if we could go.He mostly left us to ourselves,(So that did suit us grand)Until we Frankton Junction reachedA tired but happy band.165'Twas there we left the 'Limited'*And in for breakfast went.With sampling all the menu's choice,A half hour was well spent.Until we went aboard the trainThat left at seven twenty nine,And so commenced our last train trip,'The Rotorua line'.166As luck would have it, our escortStill had his lady friend.So in that car we found some seats,They chose the other end!Our tickets we were trusted withSo we just rode in stateBut quizzy-looking passengersI think had guessed our fate.167Some pocket money, which my MumHad given me to spendThe escort did advise to useBefore the journey's end.So at refreshment rooms, we offAnd ate all that we couldBut as I later on shall tell,Effects were not too good.168At eleven forty-fiveThe train came to a stop,'Twas Rotorua we had reachedSo off we had to hop.A 'screw' to meet us, made contactAfter a little pauseAnd ordered us into a truck,The 'Strathmore' one it was.*169We jaunted round a street or two,Then from that bus must climb.At yet one more Police StationWe had to spend some time.As from the truck we clambered downTo in that building goMost curious were all around,It seemed we were on show!170A nice new building, fresh and cleanWe went in for a start,But foul-aired cells we finished in,Out in a crude old part.A really decent lunch they broughtBut I could not eat much.I had so gorged, I now did haveOf biliousness a touch.171I'll ne'er forget that afternoonOf how I churned and spewedAnd we all found unbearableDick's argumentative mood.The boys declared they never sawA chap look green as me,I could not sink a single biteOf salad brought for tea.172A boy just out of hospital,Jim was his Christian name,Was put with us, and of the camps,Out with much news he came.In detention he had beenAt Strathmore and Hautu,So we were keen, for first hand newsOf what, and how, and who?173Near half-past six, the truck came backWith freight it was well crammedBut we five boys and one staff-man,Among that junk were jammed.Now we were glad to make a startOn our last lap for 'home'.But not the one I would preferWhere-ever I may roam.174At first I feared I would be sickBut once in the fresh-airThough just the road to get car-sick,I soon made good repair.Of that odd thirty miles out thereWe went well till the last.Then on rough tracks about three milesOne could walk near as fast!175The scenic beauty of that tripIs well worth mention tooOf rainbow mountain, we could haveA panoramic view.The rugged country round the lakesIs most unusual thereAnd world-wide tourists come to seeIts thermal regions rare.176I don't think I have been so keenTo land at any placeAnd get an insight of the lifeIn future I must face.I s'ppose it was because I knew,'Twas doomed to be my lot,Therefore I anxious was to findIf I liked it or not.177Round countless bends, through many gates,Then up the final brow,Our destination lay ahead,In full view of us now.A barbed-wire fence, of nineteen strands,About ten feet in height,Around ten acres, more or less,Appeared a gruesome sight.178Staff cottages we now could see,Also long rows of tents.Then after one hour's run we droveInside the compound fence.We thought it quite a decent site,For that young canvas town.A little hill, which rose behind,Prevailing winds broke down.179Unlike at other 'State Hotels'When booking in as guestsWe were quite courteously received,Not just scowled at as pests.As one by one we went insideAn inmate took each nameThen fitted us with conchies' clothes,*And we changed into same.180The civvies we had taken offThey stored in one kit bagAnd in another issued gearMore suited for a 'lag'.*I may as well give some outlineOf what they did supply.And sure, all I could get for 'nix',*I thought it good to try.181Of pyjamas they were short,Towels too they said were scarce.So I was asked to use my own,To which I was averse.So they gave in, I got two towelsPyjamas two pairs too.So how to claim what was our dueFrom that I learned to do!182We got two denim suits for work,And khaki shorts for play.A rough made suit of heavy tweedIn colour, borstal grey.Besides two pairs of working boots,And white gym shoes one pair,Two pairs of short-legged underpantsAnd three of socks there were.183Two each of singlets and grey shirts,Also a cotton vest,Three hankies, belt, straw hat and cap,Then bedding made the rest.A pillow and two pillow-slips,Five blankets thick and warm,Which we soon learned to closely watchLest blowflies in them swarm!184There's just one thing I did omit,They gave us braces too.My over-coat they let me keep,Till stocks they could renew.I then did get a black great-coatAfter the army style,An oilskin butterfly came tooAfter quite a while.185They now ransacked our private gear,And most they did allow.That we had hid no contrabandWe solemnly must vow.The supervisor, Duffy, then,In turn we went to see.White-haired, red-faced, hawk-eyed old gent,With oily tongue was he.186In brief he did explain camp rules,Took down our pedigrees.His tactful methods of approachQuite favourably did please.He said they must have discipline,Yet it was no slave camp,And warned me of my destinyIf I turned out a scamp.187With swags, we left the office block,To be shown to our tents.Bill Richardson a welcome gave,When at the boundary fence.Some real excitement, sure it was,To see old friends once more.And others meet whom I'd heard ofBut never met before.188Dick and I, we shared one tent,At least a half-bred hut.A wooden floor and walls and door,That made it one, all but!A stretcher each of wood and sacks,A palliasse of straw,A table, and I think, a stoolWhen we walked in we saw.189I liked the spirit of the boysWho helped me make my bed,Drove in some nails, to hang clothes onAnd cheery words they said.At half past eight a whistle blew"For cocoa" they did saySo with my mug they issued meTo mess room we made way.190I was impressed as all came in,A real hale hearty crowd.I thought it 'just the life, and gladMy case was not allowed! 'To answer roll that all be thereIt was compulsory,A hundred and seventy inmates there,At that time, there would be.191When roll was called, mail being dueExcitement ran real high,Anticipation could be seenIn almost every eye.Each chap would have his letter passedIn answer to his name,Unfortunates looked really sadWhen to an end they came.192When papers too were given out,The parcel list was read."Collect them after work next day,At censor's room," they saidFor getting such, there always wasAn anxious waiting queue.Of course it was a week or soTill I had such to do.193The cocoa was a decent brewSo I my mug would fill ,And being asked, I went alongTo sup with George and Bill.I did enjoy that little yarn,Also a hearty feed.Quite jovially they did describeThe life they there did lead.194At half past nine, I said Good-nightTo Richardsons and went'Cause then a whistle blew to sendEach man to his own tent.At ten o'clock a whistle blew,For putting out all lightsSo I was soon in land of dreamsAfter my sleepless nights.195Reveille went at half past sixPatrolmen then came roundAnd one would be put on the mat,If he in bed were found.I had slept well, and woke up fresh,So soon was up and out'Cause I was keen to meet more friends,And have a look about.196I followed others for a washIn a long open shedThere were two other long sheds too,Where most wild rumours bred.This community style of shedsTo me seemed strange at first.To wash and shave in water coldSome others thought the worst.197At half past seven, a whistle blew,It was to let us know'Twas breakfast time, and all hands mustDown to the mess room go.A little distance from the messWe had to wait a while.Till most queued up, then at a word,All raced in in free style.198That mess room was a patched-up showAnd rather cramped for spaceBut they already had commencedA much more stylish place.Of tables seating twelve chaps eachThere'd be fourteen all toldAnd decent food put there uponHad no chance to get cold.199Our breakfasts mostly would consistOf porridge, tea and bread,And meat in different forms, of whichSarcastic things were said.Of sugar, butter, milk and jam,There was our ration too.Shame on the rest, if one was slow,His share was soon gone through!200A system there they had in forceThat two each day take turnsAt waiting on their mess table,A job which no one yearns.Their table food they had to get,And dish up for their matesThen after dinner had to washThe cutlery and plates.201A little after eight o'clockAnother whistle blew.All gathered near the office block,To find what work they'd do.Then different gangs were sent awayWith their respective 'screws',But we new lads waited to seeWhat work for us they'd choose.202Up to the woodheap, we were shownWhere one axe we could find,So four of us took turns with itAnd no one seemed to mind!Of course we stacked a little wood,And cleaned up round the heapBut if we had much less to doI'm sure I'd have gone to sleep.203The smokos were at ten that mornAnd afternoon at three.We handy to the cookhouse were,So got a cup of tea.For lunch we had an hour offFrom twelve o'clock till one.With butter, bread, jam, cheese and greensWe weren't too badly done.204When whistle for the knock off blewAround four forty-fiveJust one cold shower attracted allLike bees around a hive.There were five tin baths there besidesWith just cold water tooBut coppers we could light, when withA hot bath we could do.205Their whistles were the postman's styleWith tones so clear and shrillSo there was no mistaking themWhen they the air would fill.I think they liked a 'blowin' them,So off it went once more.At ten past five it blew againFor dinner it was for.206Dinners were always much the same.Of course, there was suffice,Our puddings mostly did consist,Of steamed duff, or boiled rice.Sometimes, just as a special treatStewed apple we would getOr jelly and custard, just enoughOur appetite to whet.207Another favour they gave usFor Friday's breakfast dishThough sometimes it gave colic pains,It once had been fresh fish!Once, every week at supper time,Wine biscuits they gave out.The way some grabbed, their claim to beTrue socialists I doubt!208After dinner, like my mates,I put on gyms and shortsThen on the grass, we had cock fights*And other healthy sports.Right from sunset, the air turned coldAnd darkness soon came onSo we soon vamoosed off to our tents,Some warmer clothes to don.209The atmosphere about the placeDid suit me very well.'Twas such a change, from work all dayThen locked straight in a cell.Roll call and lights out, came and went,Much like the night beforeSo in detention one day passedThe first of ??? hundreds more?210Next morning also passed the sameTill we went for a job.I was then called and told to goOut with McClennan's mob.A dozen of us in a truckWent for a three mile tripOut near the homestead where we builtSome sheep yards, and a dip.211Being very up-to-dateIt interesting was,'Twas pleasant too to work with some,Who shared one common cause.They all worked well, so I was gladI'd struck a decent bunch.Our boss was good, though strict to rules,For smoko times and lunch.212In huts close by, we ate our lunchAnd made some billy tea,The hamper that they sent with usBare rations proved to be.At four o'clock we knocked off workAnd put our tools away,Then after walking three miles homeWe'd had a real full day!213I did enjoy the first two milesThrough different fields we passedBut dusty pumice roads were crookA mile or so at last.Some swedes which grew in one large field,Were nice and sweet to chew.A quick dip, in a little creekI found refreshing too.214After dinner I packed up,From Dick's abode I wentBecause it was arranged for me,To share Jim Langman's tent.I was quite loathe to leave old Dick,Though he did sometimes boreBut company with a C.A. boy*Did mean to me far more.215At quarter to seven, I went alongTo Malcolm Mackenzie's tentWhere nine met in sweet fellowship,An hallowed hour we spent.Though meeting thus seemed strange at first,I soon accustomed grew.Nine each in John's and Willie's tentsAt that time did meet too.216Of how time passed, until next night,There's nothing fresh to sayA few then went to Bernie's tent,Where we did sing and play.It was a boon that instrumentsThey did allow thereinSo three more boys, besides myself,Each had a violin.217A big windjammer Malcolm hadAnd Dave a mandolinSo all that music in one wayhelped to keep up one's chin.We had to use discretion thoughAs to how much we played,'Cause unappreciative chapsDeclared their nerves were frayed!218That night I supped in Willie's tent,Next night at Eric PowersSo at Whenuaroa camp*I spent some happy hours.The routine now, throughout most daysWas practically the same,We slept and ate and played and worked,As each in order came.219On Saturday, the routine changed.,We toiled till dinner time.At one, all went up to the storeFor rations stood in line.They gave us paper, envelopes,Matches, candle and soap,Then tissues and tobacco tooFor those who used such dope!220All now had time to scrub out tents,And get their washing done.So on the coppers for the job,There was a busy run.But we'd been early up that morn,Jim knowing all the tricks,And had most of our housework doneEre it was half past six.221On Saturday, and Sunday too,If we desired a strollFrom half past one 'til half past fourThey granted us parole.In Deep Creek, near two miles away,One could go for a swim.Apart from that, the country-sideWas very bare and grim.222At half past ten on Sunday morn,Six forty-five at night,In fellowship we met again,This helped to keep us right.Ben Browning took turns round each 'Church',*'Cause he our elder was.His gracious words, also his lifeDid oft expose my flaws!223Some startling things occurred at timesWhich broke monotony.The greatest was a hunger strikeBy most, in sympathyWith three in Dummy, who refusedWork round the compound fence.So thus, t'wards those who still ate food,The feeling was intense.224That flare-up soon died down again,they only missed one mealThen to their meagre reasoning powersThe Super did appeal.At roll call all hands were held backWhile he gave a firm speech,Explaining well the power of lawThat was within his reach.225He then assured us that the fenceWas not to keep us inBut for protecting, such false wordsNo confidence could win!E'en though that fence was not much goodTo keep one in or out,In light of how the top sloped in,His words we had to doubt.226Mr Greenberg too was there,He was controlling 'Head'And he endorsed as right and trueAll that Joe Duffy said.He made a really fighting speech,'Twas well worth listening to.He near convinced me, without doubt,That every word was true.227To write some letters I was bound,Thus dreary hours I filledBut when some mail came in for meI then was just fair thrilled.A poem written on this themeWill later fit in well,So what we were and weren't allowedJust now I'll no more tell.228The weather there was so extreme,Oh boy! It could get hot!And even then, by early MarchTaps inside froze a lot.The blowflies there were such a curse,You could leave nought around.,the sandflies too fared well on oneIf he was juicy found.229The hospital, though primitiveServed for emergency.The nurse in charge, though I ne'er met,I heard was crotchety.In urgent cases for a DocFor dental treatment too,To Rotorua, for the jobWe would be taken through.230I'd better say a few words tooAbout the visitingBut need not tell, how lucky ladsWould to their loved ones clingFor two hours each on SaturdayAnd Sunday afternoon.In huts fenced off, watched by a 'screw'They there could talk and spoon.231That home- or love-sick they would getIs what most boys would dread.That sad reaction, sure was seen,When last good-byes were said.Besides allowing relativesAnd girls who were engagedThey would admit head ministersOf some 'flocks' there engaged.232The names of all the C.A. boysWho were there at the time,I'd like to tell but doubtlessI will find them hard to rhyme.November fifteenth was the date,In nineteen forty-one,When Bill le Page arrived at campJust after it begun.233Basil Goldsack was the nextThen Arthur Gambling came,Tom Farndon and Will Finnemore,That's five that I can name.John MacDiarmid, Dave Kernohan,And Athol RossiterOn December the twelth dayTogether brought in were.234Vernon Russell, Roy WatsonAnd Leon IdoineFour days later, made eleven,So I'm progressing fine.Jim Langman next, then Eric PowerOn the twenty-third,From then, till eighth of January,He was the last snared bird.235That day, Fred Yates came in from jailWhere more did Christmas spend.So we who to conventions wentWere glad, you may depend.Dick Mowat came on the fifteenth,And Tom MacDiarmid too.Bob Tidman on the twenty-thirdFrom Auckland then came through.236On Feb third the Richardson boys,And Gordon McCarthy came.Malcolm McKenzie on the ninthIs the next one to name.Colin Osbaltiston arrivedFrom then just one day hence,The following night was Ian BrowneInside the compound fence.237Eddie Draffin now booked inBut only for one night.That he at Hautu was aloneDid seem to us, not right.The day he went, the seventeenth,Ben Brownrigg was brought down.Though he had spent six months in jail,Nought could his spirits drown.238As next one on the twenty third,Our twenty-sixth I was.Doug McConnell and Bernie GilesCame after one day's pause,Keith Thompson too, arrived with them.A week hence two more came,Alan Paton and Ernie Monk,So that makes every name.239I often thought of Hautu camp,Where Eddie Draffin wasAnd well I knew a transfer there,Would serve a real good cause.Of life within that certain campWe could get few details.'Twas rumoured it was hard to reachFor visitors and mails.240When on the thirteenth day of MarchThey asked for volunteersI said I'd go, though if for best,I still had doubts and fears.From then, I was real keen, to hearIf they'd choose me to go.In fact, I would have felt put out,If they had told me, "No".241Next day, a Saturday it wasWhen in for mid-day meal,To hear my name called, with some more,I could excitement feel.They said to have ourselves prepared,To leave at half past two.Gave very scanty time for us,With all we had to do.242Doug McConnell, Vernon R,Bob Tidman too they choseAnd four more inmates made the trip,But I need not name those.McDiarmid boys and Athol RWho wanted to come downWere disappointed, 'cause it wasMuch nearer their home town.243Complete outfits, we had to take,Our mattress, bed and all,With that and stores packed in the truckSpace left was very small.They let us shake hands with our mates,Then we were roughly searchedInto that space left in the truckThe eight of us now perched.244The boys were there to wish us wellAnd wave us last good-byes.'Twas hard in ways, that we so soonShould break familiar ties.A reputation they had thereFor always running late,So it was half past three when weDrove out the compound gate.245Our escort rode with Sandy, who did driveAnd anyone will tell you howRound bends he loves to dive.Though legs were cramped,And heads were bumped,A worse thing did befall.Old Sandy's dog now got car-sick,And at our feet dumped all!246Some gorgeous sights we saw aroundThe shores of Lake Taupo.The Huka Falls, and all the restCan't beat Dunedin though!Ruapehu's snow clad slopesWhich tower in the skyThough captivating at sunset,Could not e'en rank as high.247We skirted the lake for thirty miles,Till at the south-east endThen off that road towards the hillswe took a left hand bend.Ti tree was growing all aroundThe track we had to goBut opened out to grassy fieldsWhen in a mile or so.248A belt of pine trees made obscureThe buildings of a jailSo why that 'way-back' farm was thereQuite clearly told the tale.We went through gates with notices'No trespassing' there'd beBecause we read that we were nowOn prison property.249We carried on about two milesAlong a winding roadThen in ideal environmentWe spotted our abode.Sheltering west and southern sidesWere pine trees and a hill,A pretty stream which hugged the restGave us a final thrill.250This full view of the camp-site cameWhen at the north-west endThe old truck's head turned down the hillAnd whizzed around a bend.On left there were staff cottages,A garden on the right.We passed these by, drove through the gate,At buildings to alight.251It now was six o'clock, and weHad covered sixty milesSo we were glad to be receivedWith cheery words and smiles.The chaps around helped us unload,Then we went in for tea,Which put to shame the Strathmore meals,'Twas more like home to me.252To see bran scones, big currant bunsAnd salad nicely cut,It made me think if I'd not comeI'd be a silly mutt.Therefore, with this place from the firstI was quite well impressed,Because as long as I'm well fedI put up with the rest.253When I first saw my exiled friendIn through the kitchen slide,There washing up the pots and pansHe was right in his stride.'Though not the sort to feelings showOr one to make a fuss,'Twas easily seen how pleased he wasWhen he came round to us.254I well do mind straight after tea,When shown to our new hutsThere were no well-formed paths as now,We floundered over ruts.The changes since, about this campAre hard to calculate.Eight months has almost wiped from view,That undeveloped site.255Vernon and Bob now share one hut,And Doug and I likewise.This quick promotion from a tentDid pleasantly surprise,Because at Strathmore we had foundThe frost came through our tent,And our turn would not come for hutsTill winter was well spent.256The inmates then, including usI think were fifty-four.Round thirty-six were in single huts,And they were building more.Besides, there were eight double huts,Which housed two each as we.The rest together shared a room,A store it came to be.257For roll-call all turned out the sameAs said of Strathmore campBut biscuits, on here every night,Made it well worth the tramp.No whistle blew at half past nine,For sending us all home.So till 'lights out' at ten o'clock,If we liked, we could roam.258I now was keen, when day break cameTo have a look aroundAnd very soon, that methods hereWere primitive I found.Of course to wash, and have a shaveWere the first things to do.Some boys with towels strolled out the gate,So there I followed too.259Round fifty yards, that pathway wentFrom that gate to the creek,Where I enjoyed the freshest washThat anyone could seek.This mountain stream, though rather cold,Contained a swimming pool,So it was handy on hot daysTo jump in and get cool.260The fence was like the Strathmore one,By now a common sight,But gates, unlike the ones up there,Were not locked, day or night.But now, alas! just eight months hence,You can't go very farUntil you're strictly out of boundsOr up against barbed wire.261Being Sunday after breakfastWhich was very goodDoug then enquired to find how we,Regarding meetings stood.So in our hut they said to meetJust like up where we'd been,And even though just five of us,much real 'food' we did glean.262Like Strathmore, at weekends there wereSome hours of parole.But, what was more, to see sunsetsCould have an evening's stroll.Enthralling sights we witnessed there,The western sky would glow,On Ruapehu's snow-clad slopes,Reflections clear to throw.263I must now also tell of howThe night that we came in,The Supervisor straight awayOur confidence to win,At the mess table came and satWith us upon the stoolsAnd like a father he explainedCamp routine and set rules.264The boundary lines which he mapped outFor us when on paroleGave better scope and sceneryThan Strathmore, on the whole.He warned us that towards the road,There was a wild white bullBut having heard such tales before,Our legs were hard to pull!265At ten past eight on Monday mornThe whistle blew for workAnd others were sent to their jobsBut we around did lurk.The Supervisor, Ballard then,To his office cameThen one by one he called us inTo give our type and name.266As I've already said, that heOur confidence could win,I now more deeply was impressedBy shape of head and chin.That he was strong in character,A man you could not foolAnd that his word would be his bond,I judged would be his rule.267He told me what he would expect,Then asked my attitudeAnd said that breach of discipline,Would seriously be viewed.When we had all been interviewed,We were told to reportTo the overseer thereWho would jobs for us sort.268Improvement work around the campWas what we were set to,Unloading timber for the hutsAnd roadwork we would do.For cook-house use, we also didPump water from the creek.And also as a kitchen handI worked one day that week.269The kitchen as it was those days,Was far from up-to-dateSo I can sympathise with those,Who worked there, in that state.Water we had to use with care'Cause it was pumped by hand.Conditions for the washing up,Should long before been banned.270With only one range there installed,The cooking was no joke.Yet they could turn on decent mealsFor near a hundred folk.Benches and tables were far goneSo sometimes fell apart.Our feet went through the flooring boards‘Cause rot had made a start.271The roof and walls were all unlinedSo harboured dust and germs.To work in such environment,Did soon give me the squirms.As time went on and more men came,That state had to improve.At any rate they had to leaveThat unhygienic groove.272So thus, great changes have been made,There now are ranges, three.In place of that old wooden floorNice smooth concrete we see.A concrete table, smooth as glass,New pumice washtubs too.Hot water always is on tapFor all one wants to do.273The walls are now all nicely linedAnd windows built for light.A ventilator in the roofNow makes things pretty right.Eight months' progress I have reviewed,But must go back againTo where I was, that first week there,And other things explain.274One Petersen, a Danish man,Who was House-master then,Liked blowing on his whistleWhich would tell us where and when.Every morning at ten o'clockAnd afternoon at three,His whistle blew to call all handsDown for a cup of tea.275When we would hear Pete go tweet-tweetStraight after evening meals,Towards the censor' s hut you'd seeDust rising from our heels.He handed out our letters first,Papers then parcels last.He'd open parcels, make remarks,But always let them past.276On Monday, twenty-third of March,My second week down hereI started at a job in whichAt first I felt quite queer.But being recommended thenTo take another's placeI thought I'd best give it a trySo did the ordeal face.277My orders were to tend the staff,For their three meals a day,To lay the tables, wait on them,Wash up and clear away.Besides, for tea at ten and threeAnd for their supper too,I set up in their sitting room,So they fared well, that crew!278I brought wood for their open fire,These rooms I'd sweep and clean.Those days I worked, but now sit back'Cause things have altered been.While on this theme, I may as wellBring up to date my job,Of how the lower grade of staffWere culled out from my mob.279At first, with only eight or nine,I managed quite alright.But when in time, they doubled that,My duties weren't too light.In one small room, for all that crowd,Two settings it would take.So I was pleased, when it was plannedAnother mess to make.280So from that room to this new messThey called the lower grade,Till of administrative staffJust three with me had stayed.Our Matron and a nurse then came,Within the next few days.So having ladies to attend,I had to watch my ways.281To bring my clientele to seven,Another two came through.Besides, official visitorsWould often call in too.An apron and a steward's coatBecame my duty wear.To keep these white and nicely starched.I found the worst job there!282For months I made their breakfast toastBut cooks must now do that.In place, screws' lunches I must cut'Cause they sliced the bread too fat.Each morning through those winter months,The fire I had to light.On cold days, to sit there myselfJust suited me alright!283A new staff recreation hallBeside the mess I clean.So now, I've roughly told the jobAt which eight months I've been.Though some would think my jobAppears a racket, more or less,It pays not to commit myself,So I just let them guess!284I may as well make mention tooAbout the menu there,And I'll declare that some staff chapsSo well did never fare.Needless to say, that I myselfLikewise fared very well,That that's the main attraction here,I'm not ashamed to tell.285At first, the staff and inmates hereGot very much the sameBut in time, one could expect,This class distinction carne.The first few months, the food all round,Was all we could desireAnd all agreed, that cooking hereDid beat Strathmore by far.286The paid cook, Rankin, who was shrewd,The 'Heads', began to 'nurse'But, sad to say, the inmates' foodDid gradually get worse.And sure enough, to meet his ends,He could hood-wink the staff.Then when they would grant him a rise,Behind their backs he'd laugh.287This Mr Rankin, we well knewWas here to save his skin.So we took it with grains of saltWhen oft he would beginTo tell, how he felt, that he couldHis country better serve,In other spheres, but, such pretenceNo hearing did deserve!288Domestic worries, in the end,Had Rankin all upset.He lost all interest in his jobSo out of it did get.Some said, with sugar, tea and jamHis cupboards were all brim,So with our rations running short,We were best rid of him.289In late October was the timeWhen he at last would go.So, who would come, to take his placeWe anxious were to know.A week or so, we were withoutUntil another came.A sour foul-mouthed Great War man,McQuillan was his name.290He's just the sort who claims he's rightNo matter how far wrongSo till he caused disruption great,It wasn't very long.He revolutionised all thingsAccording to his way,But old hands with his system clashed,So, with him would not stay.291Four weeks have wrought some changes great,Since this head chef came in.There's six new cooks and kitchen handsHe's getting broken in.Of course he's got his good points tooIn bringing out new rules'Cause in the kitchen now we haveA table and some stools.292Where as before, when meal time cameWe all just floundered round,Some sat on benches, others stood,But order now is found.We all now wait until the staffhave had all they require,then we sit down, just like at home,And eat what we desire.293He growls and rambles on so much,He's nick-named 'Babbling Brook'.But still, he doubtless knows his job,So flash meals he can cook.Not loving 'conchies', he gave themBare rations without frills.The staff though relish four course meals,Rare choice of sweets and grills.294The menus once I memorised,And rhymed off long French names,But now, a typed out menu card,Is latest of his games.Just how long 'Babbling Brook' will lastIs very hard to say.Already, he is itching forA life that's fast and gay.295While dealing with our eatablesI'll make some more commentsOf how, concerning inmates' food,The air at times grows tense.As different ones from Strathmore cameAnd they would make it knownThat they'd been getting things we weren'tMuch discontent was shown.296For months we were without our spuds,Whereas two weeks they were.Of jam and syrup too there wasThree times as much up there.They gave us carrots, months on end,To take potato's place.And some declare, they never couldOne more feed of them face.297They say, to make tea thrice a day,It takes them all their time,Yet staff can have it seven timesWhich seems an awful crime.Their ration is the same as oursSo one needs little senseTo judge, for them to get so much,Is at the boys' expense.298I'll now jot down a few outlinesRegarding our parole.'Though scope was good, our limit nowWas to the swimming hole.This pool, as I have said before,Is in the stream close by,So on hot days a handy placeTo swim and in sun lie.299The liberty we were allowedThose first months was a boon'Cause we, with time off, could roam roundNear every afternoon.I've said, compared with Strathmore campThey gave us much more rope.So now I'll go on to explainBest sights within our scope.300A fav'rite walk, half hour each way,Was following the streamTo where some sparkling little fallsCould make one's eyes fair gleam.It fascinating was, to watchThe antics of some trout.To climb those falls , near seven feet,We'd see them springing out.301For another walk which wouldA strenuous three hours fillWe crossed the stream, through ti tree pushed,Then up a fern clad hill.Though scrambling through fern eight feet highOft seemed a hopeless plight,A gorgeous view of Lake TaupoWould make it worth the fight.302We've long since lost the privilegeOf going out that wayIn case we are like two more chapsWho lost themselves one day.Search parties could not locate themTill hours after darkBut why we all must pay for that,We thought it was a nark.303I'd say what did attract the most,Was going to the bushWhere wealth of nature's handiworkFulfills her lover's wish.A track leads there, over four milesThrough ti tree scrub and fern.Though rather long, it gave one allThe exercise he'd yearn.304From it came glimpses of the lakes,And Mounts with beauty true.And Ruapehu, Tongariro,Ngauruhoe too.Just at the entrance to the bushIs an old prison campWhich looked neglected for some years,The huts were green and damp.305But in those huts there now are campedTen conchies and a screw,Who bar weekends, must stop up there,Post splitting's what they do.There's one Screws' hut, one with six boys,The rest in two tents are.They dine and cook in an old shackWith just an open fire.306Camp oven cooking they declareHelps make a first class jobSo with good meals, and not caged in,They are a happy mob.They seem to love their little camp,Which now looks civilized.To see it, nice and homely now,Sure makes one quite surprised.307Some Saturdays, to sledge stores up,It has been my good luck'Cause they must spend wet weekends there,When bogs do block the truck.I'm always waiting for a chanceTo wangle such a stroll,'Cause it does seem a special treatNow that there's no parole.308Once in the bush, there's gorgeous sightsWhichever way you turn,From stately trees, some ten feet through,To the most fragile fem.Where the stream flows through a gorge,Beneath green foliageOne would for hours need to gaze,Its wealth of charm to gauge.309Another rarity up thereAre club-like flower roots.These, partially submerged in soilWe'd kick out with our bootsThen bring them home, boil for two hours,The rough outsides next trim.A wooden flower in the heart,With luck, was neat and prim.310On Anzac day we were obligedBy one, a Mr Whit(Who by the way, he walked so hard,His heart near took a fit).He kindly took some of us boysOut for a full day's hike.Enchanting sights all round we saw,From off a high-up spike.311Of bird life there, it never seemedA great varietyThough pretty pigeons, big and fat,We often used to see,And mockies, though not oft in sight,*Did whistle clear and sweet,Then once I had the luck to seeA native parakeet.312Though pigs and deer were plentiful,They never came in sightBut fresh hoof marks did clearly showThey'd been there over-night.Occasionally, deer's antlers, whichThey cast off every yearWe'd come across deep in the bush,But never in the clear.313So while such liberty was oursWe had a good old fling,But drastic rules came into forceFrom early in the Spring.The first knock was, we'd get no moreParole on Saturday,Because to clean and scrub our hutsThey said we had to stay.314Another rule they have brought inWhich seems just useless fussWas that as we passed out the gatePatrolmen must search us.As yet, in time off through the weekWe still could have a walkTill on October 25When came the final knock.315Once more, all had to sufferFor the misdeeds of two more'Cause they suspended all paroleWhen they broke from Strathmore.Though this was to be temporaryWe're still without parole,Except of course, as I have said,Down to the swimming hole.316I'll now recall some more eventsOf those first good old daysWhen leisure hours were so well spentIn many different ways.If free, when e'er the truck went out,We could go for a rideSo thus we had a royal chanceTo see the country-side.317Down to Turangi, five miles off,We could go for the mail,'Though a nice drive, we went so oft,It did get rather stale.At the 'Bridge Lodge' with luck we'd meetA conchie's friend or wifeSo thrills we'd get, to see and hearA bit of outside life.318For bread and milk, the truck would goDown to the jail each nightSo for a break we'd sometimes go,'Though it was no gay sight.Up to Tauranga-TaupoWas quite a pleasant ride,This would be six or seven milesNorthward, round the lakeside.319Down past Turangi, four more milesA few times I have been,To where there is the biggest townFor near ten miles I've seen.There must be nearly four shops there,A hall and an Hotel,Post-office, school, a kirk or two,And district nurse as well.320It's built right on the lake's south end,Tokaano is its nameAnd as an anglers' paradiseThey say it has won fame.Like other settlements round hereFew Pakeha are foundAnother thing is noticed, though,That nippers do abound.321The trip we prized the most of allWas to a timber mill,From Tokaano near seven milesUp and round a hill.As one looks on the lake from thereHe's struck dumb by that view.Steam jets and hot pools round those partsAre most unusual too.322So we enjoyed those good old daysTill one, a Mr Banks,The Super of the jail belowTook note of our pranks.To see us having such a time,It gave him quite a pain.So months ago, all joyrides ceased,'Cause he did thus complain.323While speaking of those good old days,I'll mention parcels next,About which too, authoritiesApparently got vexed.As I have said, Pete gave us allThat came for us those days.Although two shillings' worth a weekHad been the rule always.324So in most huts, while that prevailed,You'd see good stores laid upAnd one was sure of something good,Where e'er he went to sup.Of course in time, as this camp grew,And other things got worse,Restrictions on the parcels tooThey also did enforce.325In early August we were warnedMuch trouble would aboundIf in our huts, there ever wasMore than two bob's worth found.And sure enough, they made a raid,And found some had heaps more.All foodstuffs then, they said were banned,So we felt rather sore.326That drastic rule did not last longTill it was modified,Since then, they keep a thorough watchOn what we are supplied.All now above a half crown's worth,We must put in the mess.Of course the value of our goodsThey very roughly guess.327Of parcels I have said enough,To letters now I'll go.And as I've said, I've made a verseWhich does this clearly show.August it was I wrote this piece,It's called 'This changing scene'(Excuse the change of meter please,From what the rest has been).328When Strathmore first beganThey were for mail well set.Folk then could write to seven a week,And all in, they could get.This privilege, it meantUntold bliss to the boys,'Cause corresponding with their dearsWas greatest of their joys.329That we could write so much,It hurt head staff to see,So they declared that three a weekOur limit was to be.Two sheets could go in eachWith writing on each side,Addressed to different folks who mayIn the same house abide.330When to Hautu we came,We found they were more free,And in each envelope there couldThree both-side foolscaps be.So while it thus remainedIt suited very well,But they began to kick when thusOur mail began to swell.331So once again we wereCut back to foolscaps two,'Twas such a shame, the censors didHave too much work to do!But yet another changeConcerning this was made,It was an order from the 'Heads 'To which heed must be paid.332At first it sounded goodThat we could now write four,Containing still, two sheets a pieceBut then they added more."From henceforth, we must ceaseThis putting two in one".It seemed they'd set themselves to endOur slightest bit of fun!333'Twas now extremely hard,In fact, impossibleTo all who wrote and sent us thingsOur obligations fill.Though that was bad enoughWe managed fairly well,But what we think of rules now madeWith pen I could not tell.334Last night it was announced,We now can write just twoWith but one sheet in each of them,What can a fellow do?To make the matter worse,We can receive just four,It's got us beat, what will they doIf for us, there comes more.335It is ridiculous,That such laws should aboundI fail to see how there could be,For them, real justice found.So that concludes that piece,Now almost four months old.But now I'll number it with thisAs one long epic told.336Though then I could not write for sureOf just how things should go,If over four a week would comeI now do better know.First week or two we got a chanceTo get things rectified,Then after that, to our dismayMore than four were denied.337I think I did offend the mostAlong that certain line,'Cause I would get to ten a weekWhile four for most was fine.So week by week, in censor's room,Mine did accumulate,Till it developed to a mostUnsatisfactory state.338Ere I would get my mail from home,It was near three weeks old.,So then to give their pens a spellAll that I could, I told.The censor I would oft approachBut he'd not budge at all,Though I explained I'd not had timeTo all my pen friends stall.339The censor (Harvey) still stood firmSo I got desperate,Straight to the Super I did goAnd told him of my fate.So with us lads, so far from homeI won his sympathy.I spoke too, for all Southern boysAnd he did grant my plea.340Therefore, the mail stored up for me,I got right up to date,And so far managed to evadeRecurrence of that state.Of course, in time, most got to knowJust how we had been placed.I too, will know what course to takeNext time I'm with it faced.341Our outward mail was still bound downTo two a piece each week.Of course, of unofficial ones,It's not safe yet to speak!Newspapers, weeklies, and such likeThey always have let inBut strictly searching them for notes,They lately did begin.342I'll go on now, to progress makeWith camp facilitiesWhich though so primitive at first,In most ways now they please.They built a concrete reservoirNearby up on a hill,And with a petrol engine pump,Up from the stream they fill.343So from the old hand-pumping styleWhich was so obsolete,To get good pressure on the tapsIt was a special treat.Now, with the water problem solved,They've put it to good use.The wash-house, built near to our hutsIs well supplied with juice.344The part where we could have a washThey first have finished off.It has a row of taps aboveA wooden bench and trough.The wash-house and the bathroom too,They both adjoin this shed.But work on getting them complete,Most slowly went ahead.345Until the coppers got installed,Now three of which there are,By the stream we boiled our clothesIn tin and o'er a fire.Though most would use this place to bathThat was not so with me,'Cause we who round the kitchen workedTo bath in there were free.346But in due course, three tin baths came,Three showers too they made,So they're a boon, 'cause on them allBoth hot and cold are laid.An old four hundred gallon tank,A decent cistern makes,Although it serves the purpose wellSome heating up it takes!347Completion of our social hallWe all were glad to see,Round forty-five by twenty feetIts length and breadth would be.As winter came and nights got cold,Two open fires were made.They're decent ones, in which there canFive-foot back logs be laid.348Around these fires on winter nights,We crouched on backless formsSo they have helped us to surviveThrough bitter frosts and storms.This place, it takes some beating too,The way that it can freeze.To five from zero it would drop,That's twenty sev'n degrees.349With timber short, there's no floor boardsAnd none the walls to line.But it is homely, though so rough,And serves its purpose fine.Of furnishings, besides those forms,The place was very bare.But now, there are two reading desksAnd ping-pong table there.350From Quakers and some other friendsWho do support our causeA good piano which they gaveA welcome gesture was.Late in July it did arrive,So it was all the rage.It first was on a little standBut now they've built a stage!351This stage, an up-to-date affair,Takes one fourth of the hall.A roller curtain has been made,And sliding screens and all.The boys put on some concerts thereWhich brought good talent out.For staff and inmates craving such,It helps to break the drought.352The hospital block I think is next,Of interest on the list.A chance to sojourn there myselfI luckily have missedBetween the mess rooms and our hutsIts building has been placed.The wards are so arranged, that theyTowards the sun are faced.353Five singles wards, which once were hutsSo far have proved suffice,The nurses' home adjoining them,Though small, is very nice.About mid-May they opened it,All round was then rough groundBut rockeries, nice flower bedsAnd green lawns now abound.354The matron is Miss Fabian,The nurse Miss Butler Brown.Especially Miss FabianOn conchies does look down.But yet, these old dears treat us well,As if we were their sons.But woe betide if e'er you dareTo stick up for the Huns.355The subject I must tackle next,Is all about our hutsTo which, I said at first, we hadTo flounder over ruts.But many changes have been madeOf which I now must tell,Though to give you a clear outlineI may not do too well.356The first few weeks that I was here,With Doug I shared a hut,And even it was dragged aroundOut of its first old rut.But when they built more single hutsIn to them we did go.Vernon, Bob, Doug and myself,Were all in the front row.357This was the compound's eastern side,And northwards they did face.The distance in between each hutWould be round ten foot space.The huts, all built here by the boys,Are ten by seven feet,Each with one window and one door,Look uniform and neat.358Our stretcher goes across the end.,And in most, as a rule,There's what would be a wardrobe called,A table and a stool.The Sisal-kraft around the wallsAt first was all jet black,And though it made them dark and glumIt helped block up each crack359Yet, plenty of air holes were there,Where no protection was,So old Jack Frost and lazy windsHad soon found out these flaws.Some nights a mug of waterWhich I had inside my hutWould turn to ice, e 'en though I hadMy door and window shut.360Well, now about this Sisal-kraft,I'll write another line.Though once so black, now in contrastIt's white with calcimine.*It's like a hen-house, some declareWith walls all painted white,But anyway, if nothing else,It helped the candle light!361If for our books and toilet gearWe wanted any shelves,We had to scrounge around for woodAnd do the job ourselves.Just three plain shelves of two foot sixOur limit was to be,But though I overstepped that ruleNot much was said to me!362If for our wardrobe, and our windowCurtains we desired,For them, we could get sent to usMaterial required.Pictures of a decent sortAnd any snaps at allCould go on show, so this relievedBare studs, and white washed wall.363Around our huts, we were allowedTo dig a little plot.But doing mine, where I was thenNo satisfaction brought.I did not bother planting aught,Expecting that some dayOur huts and all, from that last siteWere to be dragged away.364Six rows, of six huts each, there wereIn that, the Eastern block.In time, another sixty hutsThey would together knock.A track, it ran from North to South,Dividing East from West.So in this Western block, in rowsLike ours they put the rest.365All along these rows of hutsNice little paths were made,So quite convenient it wasAs long as it thus stayed.But after all that good work done,They thought out a new scheme.Perhaps it would be best to sayThat someone had a dream!366So, disregarding all that workAll huts were shifted round.And on the west side of that trackThe whole lot now are found!In three blocks now, we are fenced offAs if an hostile band,because they said, it had to come,"To keep us all in hand".367About three rows of twelve there are,In each of the compounds.Conveniences are to beBuilt within each one's grounds.The huts are seven foot six apart,The rows about four yards.Some reckon locking doors at nightIs next thing on the cards!368Two rows in each now face the sun,And one does south-ward look.So those like me, who are thus faced,Now think it rather crook.'Cause whereas through our open doorsThe sun could shine all day,All now is through our window panesWhich towards the east do lay.369My hut is number forty-oneAnd in the centre block.It was a hollow where it isAnd filled with pumice rock.So, for a garden it's no goodOr I'd have one around.I envy those, who have nice shows,Where decent soil is found.370When we came down to here at firstWe did not see a tent,But in the course of months gone byRound thirty came and went.As different drafts from Strathmore came,More than there were huts for,They had to bring tents down from thereTill of huts we got more.371These tents were put beside our hutsIn that block where we were,But now the scene has greatly changed,There's not a tent left there!Much speculation has been causedRegarding what it's for,But though still doubtful of its end,Time sure will tell us more.372We're now fenced off with barbed-wireEnclosing sixty huts.All this barbed-wire's a nuisance too,It blocks all our short cuts.When to the wash-house we must goIt's quite a long way round.This narked some so, they cut the wires'Twixt it, and that compound.373In sight of the authorities,This was an awful sin.But yet, in time they weakened,And another gate put in.It seems the time is coming though,That all gates will be locked.At least along that certain line,An awful lot is talked.374The huts for that block weren't made here,But all in sections brought,And 'public worksmen' put them up,That gave much food for thought,Because to build jails for themselves,Most won't cooperate.So it appears they're for bad boys,Though 'Heads' won't tell us straight.375These new huts are all painted red,Whereas ours are tarred black.The flooring space is much the same'Though squarer type of shack.Windows are in front, by doors,But ours are on the side.At present over thirty chaps,In these new huts abide.376From down both sides, and the south end,All huts the centre face.Twelve more all face the rising sunFrom up the centre space.This subject now is up to dateExcept that yesterdayIn these new huts' doors, holes were bored,For 'fitting locks' they say.377So to comply with blackout rulesOur huts now all have 'blinds'But he deserves the 'iron cross'Who this remote place finds.Yet if Patrolmen on their roundsA streak of light would see,The one responsible for such,Sure of a blast could be.378Of subjects, which are getting less,The next to which I'll turn,Is our electric power plantWhich diesel oil does burn.That I'm a super optimist,I know a lot will say,If I declare that in our hutsWe will have power some day!379Although completion of this jobWould yet some distance seem,The N.S.D., they really mean*To carry out their scheme.Soon after we came to this place,Work on this did commence.It's built up on the eastern sideOutside the compound fence.380The way the motor's running now,One can't help but admire,But that's no earthly use to usWithout transmission wire!For weeks now, post-holes have been dug,On huts, power arms we see,But monuments these yet appearTo blund'rous N.S.D.381There is one thing brings evidence,That work has been done there,For meals and such, the whistles now,They blow by compressed air.A petrol engine and a pumpThis compressed air does make,Because to start the diesel plant,Such pressure it does take.382This diesel engine, I am sure,Could tell one many tales,Of how in South Pacific seasIt has been tossed in gales.'Cause in a Government owned ship,The Maui Pomare,This engine, and the Strathmore oneAt one time used to be.383This ship was used, for bringing fruit,From tropic isles to here.So they installed these diesel plantsTo work the Frigidaire.But as is quite the usual thingWith Governmental schemes,Expensive undertakings flop,Like castles built on dreams.384Just like a pig bought in a pokeThese motors seemed to be,And no one understanding them,They ne'er were trouble free.So oft the Frigidaire broke down,Much precious fruit was lost,So those two motors finallyWere to the scrap heap tossed.385They say they were left out to rustFor twelve or thirteen years,But now, in Strathmore and this camp,One plant in each appears.It seems a strange coincidenceThat conch camps are their fate.Just like us, who to service giveWould not cooperate.386But now they're asked to fill a place,With those of kindred heart,To meet our needs they seemed preparedTo play an active part.In hands of those who understandThey will run fairly true,For how they've persevered with themThere is much credit due.387Way back in nineteen twenty-sev'nThey tell me they were made,Yet, I think it will ne'er be saidThey for themselves have paid.Their rating at three hundred revsIs 109 horse power.Of diesel oil, each would consumeAbout three gall'ns an hour.388With light and pow'r for months past nowThe Strathmore camp's been set,And we still hope, ere winter comes,Our wiring we will get.On history of our power plant,I'll now no longer dwell,But trust it won't be long, till IOf its completion tell.389In passing, I must mention more,About old 'Babbling Brook'Of whom I said, I have grave doubtsIf he'd stop long as cook.Well sure enough, my words came true,He's something of the past.Till he did get his running shoes,He did just five weeks last.390It was like this, on his day off,He to Tokaano went.He came back stunned, and of this campHe gave his feelings vent.The Strathmore Super, Christenson,By chance was here that day,And of McQuillan's felonyHe gave the show away.391To Mr Greenberg, who alsoWas right here at that time,He did report this, which they seemedTo think an awful crime.Next day the Super called him inAnd sacked him on the spotSo he rejoiced that with such ease,He out of this place got.392It was December the eleventh,That he did take his hook.*Now, in disgust, the Heads won't tryTo get another cook.Instead, as Messing OfficerWe have a Mr Gray.Promotion from patrolman's job,Was for him, a good day.393He mainly had to keep the booksAnd share the rations out,And 'conchie' cooks, now do their best,With what there is about.The three weeks he has been in chargeThings have run very well,Bar scraps among those working there,(Of which I'd best not tell).394A baker and a pastry-cookIs Mr Gray by trade,So for the staff, sweets, scones and cakesAre mostly by him made.There's one good thing I'll mention too,He is from my home town,So of its beauty we agree,Though others run it down.395It now is nineteen forty-three,One day past New Year's day,So most of us, last week or soHave gone the festive way.Therefore, my brain has been too dense,For writing any verse,Still, Christmas comes but once a year,For better or for worse.396These celebrations still remainQuite clear within my mind.So, happenings I'd best rehearseWhile I feel thus inclined.A few days ere the big day cameOur parcels did roll in,And fearing we'd get overstockedOur feasting did begin.397A swag of parcels for us boysIn through the post did flow.How the half-crown restriction stoodWe anxious were to know.The Censors' sense of value, seemedConveniently lost,So all that came, they handed outAnd questioned not its cost.398Restrictions on incoming mails,Were all forgotten too,So we could have done well with that,If our friends only knew.The lucky lads with visitorsDid have their best time yet,‘Cause three days running, both weekendsThree hours they did get.399On Christmas Eve, the gay sparks hereDid put a concert on.'Though strange it seems, they say some chapsWith strong drink were far gone.Some of us C.A. boys did goRound to Jim Holdoway's,Where we did eat, and sing and play,And talked of good old days.400A little longer time we gotEre we to bed were sent,And it was sev'n on Christmas mornWhen the reveille went.A holiday it was for allBar us, who are 'key' men.But anyway, it helped wear offAll extras eaten then.401The Xmas dinner did consist,Of pork, spuds and green peas.With that, weighed down with Xmas duffI could have slept with ease.Peas from our garden, tender were,But not so was the pork.That old sow, from the jail next doorHad well done her life's work.402The standard of the Xmas duffAnd sauce with it was high.I too, had some the matron made,So I was busting nigh.A piece of un-iced Xmas cake,All hands did get for tea,Green salad, jelly and cold ham,Of real good quality.403Another special thrill I gotI must put down in verse,It was a gift of handkerchiefsFrom Matron and the Nurse.Their thought I valued, and I'll keepThem as a souvenirOf new acquaintances I've madeAnd service rendered here.404On New Year's Eve, the inmates didAnother show put on,And lights out whistle did not blowTill the old year was gone.With others at Jim Holdoway's,Most of the night I spent,We sang, played, and ate to the healthOf those who gifts had sent.405Most of the boys seemed well wound upAs that old year passed out.The whistle blew, then shouts and cheersWere heard from all about.A comet gave a lead to allFor singing Auld Land SyneThen later than I have for monthsIn bed I did recline.406New Year's Day passed, then at my hutThat night, we had a spreeAnd now the burning question isWhere next New Year we'd be.Well now the holidays have passed,I must get settled downTo tell of the Fraternity,Who've settled in this town.407The names of those who came with meI need not tell again,Of how our numbers then were fiveI elsewhere did explain.The first of April brought a batchWith three more of our crew,Gordon McCarthy, Ernie MonkAnd Alan Paton too.408Near three weeks later that same month,The twentieth was the day,Another boy from Blenheim came,His name, Jim Holdoway.Two days from then, Fred Philips came,A Taranaki lad,Then Eric Warner, and Dick Howe,The latter now a dad.409'Twas on the twenty-fourth they came,They're both from Auckland way.No more of ours had come untilJuly, the second day.Until then, just the twelve of usAll in Doug's hut did meet.But when five more came on that day'Twas too crushed all to seat.410Therefore in Doug's hut some still met,The rest in Alan's met.And I, with most of the new boysWas to the latter sent.These five, which made us seventeen,I now shall try to name.Bill Murphy, also Brian Wood.From Taranaki came.411Glen Laing from Christchurch, an old friend,I was real pleased to see.Then there's Ben Bruce, North Auckland bred,A daddy too is he.Lin Duffy, a South Auckland lad,Is the last to nameUntil in August, the eighteenth,His brother Colin came.412September twenty-eight it wasWhen Ben Brownrigg did come.His interest was the diesel plantThat sure did make things hum!Ben having fixed the Strathmore one,Could give a clue or two,So Arthur Wallbank helped by JackSoon had the job pushed through.413Ben's since gone back to Strathmore camp,Though we hoped he would stay.Eighth of December was the dateThat he went on his way.South Canterbury did produceThe next of ours that came.'Twas on October twenty-eight,George Taylor is his name.414Then on November, the ninth day,We saw three more arrive.To have more old friends, made me feel'Twas good to be alive.One, Ian Brown, is Auckland bredBut he has travelled roundIn USA, he 'Chiro' learnt,*And there a wife he found.415Bob Dohrman who I knew before,From near Balmoral came.Also, from Methven, an old friend,Frank Laming is his name.So that made twenty-three of us,Till Ben went back again.With no moves since, our numbers stillAt twenty-two remain.416So two huts still contain us allWhen we together meet,But the first Sunday every month,Doug' s hut the lot will seat.Thus all wedged in, his hut is packedTo full capacity.Though limbs get cramped, and air impure,The Spirit still is free.417Gordon, Brian, Colin, Lin,Eddie, Bill and Fred,With others are up splitting postsAnd camp there, as I've said.Therefore in one of their small tents,They meet on Wednesday nightBut at weekends they come back home,If weather is alright.418I've said the meeting I go toAt Alan Paton's was,But in Ben Bruce's now it isJust for this certain cause:By Alan's hut, some made a courtFor tenikoits to playWhich we feared would distract our thoughtsAs one would speak: or pray.419I must comment, how through the monthsOur populace does change.But why C.A. boys aren't disturbed,It does seem rather strange.For reasons oft to us obscure,Transfers seem to abound.In fact, some who have been sent on,In time are back here found.420The next few chaps to leave our ranksA different way did go.Because they would not work at all,Of else did go too slow.They stated here, before J.P.sThey'd not cooperate.To Rotorua next they went,Before the Magistrate.421The standard sentence for that crimeIs three months graft in jail.Although a number choose that course,To me, it's no avail.With that term up, they're tried againTo see if their mind's set.And if, like most, they still refuse'Duration' they would get.422Round three or four have been dischargedThrough failing health or mind,Yet, one's foot must be near the grave,Ere he release will findAnd still, the way two more broke outWas through a wire at night.'Though Bob was caught, and got three months,Jack Mac made good his flight.423The largest exodus at once,I think was thirty-two.'Though most were bound for Shannon campA few did go right through.They sailed back South, across Cook Strait,To which I forward look.Bush carpenters most of them were,Also a clerk and cook.424So for the first South Island campThey were the pioneers,And like all those who venture forth,They had their hopes and fears.So that North Canterbury camp'Way up Balmoral way,'Round mid September they commenced,I'm not sure to the day.425Of inmates there, 'round forty-fourIs all their personnel,And from what scraps of news we get,They're doing very well.While speaking of these transfers made,I s'ppose I'd better sayThat escorts went out with each draftTo watch they did not stray.426I now have outlined fairly wellHow inmates come and go,So next, on changes in our staff,A little light I'll throw.Of those statistics, it is hardTo keep a thorough check,Cause oft, for breach of discipline,One goes out on his neck.427Of staff which were here when we carneNow only three remain,And in between 'round twenty chapsHave come and gone again,For fraternising with inmates,And clashing with 'head' screws.Also, suspected pilferersSoon get their running shoes.428To us, they are a source of mirth,The childish way they act.That they give Greenberg more headaches,Than we do, that's a fact.Much jealousy is in their ranksTo get supremacy.Hence, of administration staff,Not one old hand we see.429Thus, bar the Matron, and the Nurse,My clientele is new,And those whom I now wait uponAre quite a different crew.Therefore, their different characters,I shall try to defineAnd briefly state why some were sackedOr rather did resign.430Mr Ballard, whom I've saidWe highly did respect,Too conscientious was for hereSo thus his health was wrecked.He took things far too seriouslyWhen misconduct he did find,And things quite insignificantWould prey upon his mind.431On dealing fairly with inmatesI'm sure he was intent,But did not seem to realise,Naught will make some content.Then when ungratefulness they showedHe put the pressure on.So sensitive he got at last,His mind was well nigh gone.432When his step quickened, and arms swungWe knew what to expect.That trouble such did signifyWe had learnt to detect.'Twould either mean that 'on the mat'Some chap he'd reprimand,Or else some threatening 'promises'The lot of us would land.433For that, straight lecturettes he gave,And always used to say"These are not threats" but woe to thoseWho dare to disobey.But mostly, when some would transgress,His repercussions wereImposing of harsh rules on all,Which did seem hardly fair.434For instance, 'cause a few hard shotsWere found to misbehave,A dormant ruling was enforcedThat we must daily shave.With razor blades so very scarceA hardship it would prove.Well-blunted safety razor bladesCould scarcely whiskers move.435We boys with time off through the dayWere very sorely vexed,‘Cause access to the social hallIn work hours was stopped next.It all occurred when one or two,Who should have been at work,Were caught there by the GestapoWho round these parts do lurk.436That meant we must freeze in our hutsThrough winter's snow and rain,For not till after he resignedDid access we regain.Piano practice some missed much,And swotting by the fire,And table tennis, then the rage,This also would debar.437There's one more thing I'll mention tooWhich caused him much concern,In fact, with curiosityThe lot of us did burn.The question did arise, aboutA hundred yard square blockOn which a few lads had commenced,The scrub from it to knock.438'Twas in a nice secluded spot,A mile or so from hereAnd no one seemed to know 'just what',Not e'en the overseer.So rumours soon got running rife,As to what it was for.A prison for recalcitrants?Or breeding nags for war?439Such like assumptions did hold sway,Making the job taboo.'Cause building jails, or aiding war,Are things most here won't do![Here the poem ends, "because I got busy"]
THIS HARMLESS FEWOne surely must admireThe faithful stand of thoseWho have bravely dared to say,"Like Christ I love my foes".No cowards could they beWho stand true to his word,Who once rebuked one dear to HimFor taking up the sword.
The throngs do surely rage,They hate their frame of mindYet, naught there is to justifyDestruction of mankind.Wars there have always been,Their horrors do increase;Strong is the evidence that theyCan bring no lasting peace.
The feeling does run high,Towards this harmless few,Whose one desire is man's welfareAnd useful work to do.But yet they are harassedWhate'er their calling be,Yea some by law are e'en interned,'Tis sure a strange decree.
Each one is surely markedWho does associateOr even sympathy doth show,T'wards those who hold this trait.Thereby some face much scorn,Some suffer loss of trade.'Twixt dearest friends and nearest kinSome breaches great are made.
In gloomy prison cellsMany a heart is sore,Through yearning for a glimpse of homeAnd those they do adore.'Though meals are very crudeTheir beds not made for ease,And limbs oft ache through overworkYet quenchless zeal have these.
Life in Detention CampsSome find extremely hard;'Tis sad they are through distance greatFrom seeing loved ones barred.Still, true companionshipEach saddened heart enjoys,The privilege of mail and giftsDelights these lonely boys.
The hearts which sorrow mostAnd shed the bitterest tearsAre those of loving kith and kin,Who miss their fondest dears.All who, though now oppressed,For right, not might have stoodRejoice in knowing "all doth workTogether for some good".
As author of this poem,'Twould grieve me to createImpressions that we pity selfFor trivial is our fateCompared to suffering hordesWhere wars and famine rage.Left homeless starving and bereavedNaught could their anguish gauge.
Wilson GordonHautu26 May 1942
GLOSSARYBairds and Wixes (Verse 40) Family friends.Ben (Verse 17) Ben Brownrigg was an elder in the Fundamentalist Christian sect (known as 'Christian Assembly') which I belonged to. He kept his appointment, and on stating that he would not accept the position offered, he was arrested there and then and sentenced to 6 months in prison.Bluey (Verse 21) A summons to appear in court.It was traditionally printed on blue paper.Bob Semple (Verse 2) Minister of National Service.Burgoo (Verse 76) Porridge.C.A. (Verse 214) Christian Assembly.Calcimine (Verse 360) Whitewash paint.Chiro (Verse 415) Chiropractic.Church (Verse 222) C.A term for regular gathering of Christians for worship.Cockfights (Verse 208) Play-fight where participants were perched on someone's shoulders.C.O. (Verse 23) Conscientious Objector.Conchies (Verse 179) Conscientious Objectors.Cons (Verse 100) Convicts.Convention (Verse 24) An annual four-day gathering of Christian Assembly members, usually held in large tents on the farm of a member.Defaulter (Verse 51) Derogatory term for one who refuses military service.Dummy (Verse 135) Solitary confinement.Footes (Verse 39) Farming family.Grade Two (Verse 4) Unfit for overseas service.Hautu (Verse 1) Detention Camp for Military Defaulters.H.L. (Verse 52) Hard labour.Hun (Verse 2) German people.John (Verse 25) Police.John-hops (Verse 136) Police.Lag (Verse 180) Prisoner.Limited (Verse 165) Auckland-Wellington overnight express train.L.S.D (Verse 142) Money (pounds, shillings and pence).M.D. Men (Verse 3) All conscriptees were examined by a doctor to determine fitness for service.Mockie (Verse 311) Bellbird. (Southland NZ English term derived from Maori makomako)NIX (Verse 180) Free.N.S.D. (Verse 379) National Service Department.NZR (Verse 30) New Zealand Railways.Screw (Verse 105) Warder or overseer in prison.Strathmore (Verse 168) Detention Camp.Super (Verse 113) Superintendent.Take his hook (Verse 392) Leave a job.Tats (Verse 2) A popular lottery, Tattersalls. Refers to the military conscription ballot.Vital Points (Verse 16) Guards were assigned to places considered to be at risk of enemy attack.Whenuaroa (Verse 218) Maori name for Strathmore district.Winchester (Verse 32) Canterbury town near Timaru, venue for the Convention.