Since we’ve been home we’ve unpacked the bags, done multiple loads of washing, and sorted through all the mail which has accumulated while we have been away. Been to market gardens for fresh fruit and veggies, around the corner to buy some free range eggs, and to the supermarket to replenish the fridge. Completed the postal voting forms for our local body (council) elections, had a blood test each, and attended our monthly Probus meeting. And because my birthday is in October, I was called up the front with all the other birthday people celebrating their birthdays this month and presented with a small gift of liquorice allsorts!
An early birthday gift
Our speaker today at Probus was Mary Belski speaking about the Shannon Objector Camps, one of which, the Whitaunui Detention Camp, was built on her farmland during the 1940s before her family purchased the property. This housed 250 concientious objectors, in 8ft X 10ft wooden huts built by the Public Works. Not comfortable housing at all – these huts were unheated, and the men slept of straw matresses under old army blankets. The occasional escapee became local legends, but all were recaptured. The detainees had to wait until July 1946 before the camp was finally closed, but the men were still subject to sanctions, with no voting rights and no government jobs available to them. Mary’s aim is to get official recognition of this historic site, with signs, and protection put in place to protect the ruins for all time.
Mary Belski speaking about the historic ruins found on her farm