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2 single sheets of paper, 22 x 17cm
Scope & Content:
[Narrative, photocopy, rectangular white paper with black typed print and handwriting.]

[Narrative reads]

Robert Greig's recollections continued

"In the sawmill camps as in the "bushwhacker's" camps an atmosphere of camaraderie existed. N' grouser' stayed long on the job. Life was full of incidents both grave and gay. Saw—milling is dangerous work for the careless or foolhardy. There were times when tragedy struck, when a fellow worker through his own or another's miscalculation would have to be carried out maimed or dead.

I saw one man of long experience in the bush, idly slash a sapling which had been bent over under a fallen tree. When cut it sprang back, striking the man across the face and lifting his eye completely out of its socket.

This accident occurred some miles back in the bush. The only means of transport was a logging truck which had to be hauled along the miles of wooden tram rails over the roughest, steepest grades. recalled Robert Greig.

While the logging operations were taking place in the upper Ngatiawa. Mr 'Andy' Neilsen was the 'trucky'. A tramline had been laid down a very steep face at the back of my land. A hauler had been positioned at the top of the hill. The empty trucks would be hauled up by means of a wire—rope. Likewise the trucks with the logs on would be lowered by the same means. But one day the truck 'jumped' the rail. Log and truck over—turned with Mr Neilsen underneath. Fortunately, he fell lengthwise into the narrow creek—bed. His injuries amounted to several briken ribs, cuts, bruises and shock. In time he recovered and once more carried on with his occupation. There were times when an occasion demanded action. Men did not hold stop—work meetings in our day. No one went on strike. A man was fortunate to have work and it went against a man's character if he were dismissed. For all that, there was one accasion when I took a serious risk. In between bushfelling and fencing I would obtain employment at the sawmill. I was, on this occasion, ridign to and from work. From early morning till dusk, my horse, with others was paddocked near the mill. It was agreed that chaff would be provided for the horses during working hours. The man responsible for obtaining the chaff was somewhat indifferent to the welfare of the animals. Chaff supplies became exhausted. When two or three days passed and the supply had not been replenished. I felt very troubled on behalf of my hungry half—starved hard—working steed. One day as lunch came and the mill—hands got the call, "Come ot the cookhouse door", I was passing the whare of the man responsible for the hungry condition of the horses. I remembered that a chaff—filled mattress lay on the bunk. A sudden impulse seized me. I entered, dragged the mattress to the door, slit open the seam and filled my horse's nosebag. My action was condoned by fellow workers, dismissal did not eventuate, but the supply of chaff did not run out again.

My mate packed up the wound as well as he could with the only material at hand — the solied seat rags (towels with which a bushman wiped the sweat out of his eyes while working). Then I set out to walk the five miles to Waikanae. Art made a detour to the Monks to collect me some clean dry clothes, with the intention of overtaking me. When I reached the small store run by Bill Cruikshank, he in a well meaning gesture gave me a stiff whiskey and replaced the blood soaked dirty rags with clean linen. Prior to the interference, the blood had congealed somewhat and bleeding had slowed down, but when the 'dressing' was moved the bleeding began anew, aided, no doubt by the stimulation of the whiskey. My benefactor took the added precaution of pouring carbolic oil into the wound, but this found its way into my mouth. this did noting to improve my sorry plight. I eventually boarded a train to Wellington. The Stationmaster had telegraphed a message to Dr.Cahill to meet the train. Sad to say I was still in my wet and muddy clothes as Art had failed to catch up with me. In those days the railway carraiges were built with a long seat down each side. I have always been grateful to two Salvation Army Lassies, who removed my boots and overed me with rugs and altogether treated me with great kindness. During the two hour journey I must have succumbed to drowsiness aided no doubt by the effect of the whiskey. When the train arrived at Wellington, Dr Cahill was waiting with his dogcart to convey me to his surgery. There I was stretched on a couch while he proceeded to stitch the wound. Severe cramp set in, so he went to a locker and produced a largish glass of whiskey (no anaethetics) saying "This will stop your cramp." I was allowed to lie there for sometime after the wound was stitched and professionally dressed and no doubt I slept. Eventually having rested, I left the surgery, still in my now somewhat drier but still muddy attire, with no money in my pocket and proceeded to my Mother's house. Her look of shock, when she opened the door to me was sufficient proof that I presented a rather horrible sight. But as usual, I was cared for and coddled until I was once more fit to return to my occupation. Then I returned to Reikorangi and was soon once again swinging the axe.

Written by Agnes R. Bryant
(Nee Daisy Greig

[Ruth Wright Collection]
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Narrative by Agnes R. Bryant (nee Daisy Greig)Narrative by Agnes R. Bryant (nee Daisy Greig)
Narrative by Agnes R. Bryant (nee Daisy Greig)Narrative by Agnes R. Bryant (nee Daisy Greig)