Mobile Unit. Station Life

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An interview with George Shaw of Elfin Bay, Lake Wakatipu, who discusses his life on a remote sheep station with no road access. The interview takes place on board the T.S.S. Earnslaw, on Lake Wakatipu.

Life is relatively isolated for Mr Shaw - his nearest neighbour is two miles away, but the boat comes to the bay three times a week in Summer, and about once a week in Winter. He also has a telephone, which he put the lines in for himself.

For news and entertainment, he reads the newspaper and listens to the radio, which he describes as "the damndest silliest rot you ever heard... sometimes it's it's sensible but sometimes it isn't". He listens to 4ZB, and names some of the announcers he likes - Peter Dawson and Bernie McConnell.

He has lived in Elfin Bay for twenty-six years, running a sheep farm. He says he and his girls [daughters?] shear 2,000 sheep. One of the girls is now living in Kaikoura as a nurse, but the other still helps him run the farm.

He says he gets away from home once a year or so, to Invercargill or Dunedin. He sometimes drives cattle out from the bay, taking eighteen days. He sometimes gets up to Glenorchy by boat or horseback. He used to have a car in Queenstown, but it was no use so he sold it. The nearest road is twenty miles away in Queenstown. He speaks further about having a telephone line put in.

He says he gets tourists visiting "an absolute nuisance" - they camp without permission in two huts on his property, often meaning the huts are full when he intends to use them.

He gets supplies brought in via boat, and takes them from the wharf to his house. The mail comes via boat also.

The next interview is with Mrs Clarke, also on board the T.S.S. Earnslaw. She has been assisting with the evacuation of a sick elderly man from Glenorchy to hospital in Queenstown. The only way of getting out of Glenorchy is by horse, boat or plane. Communication is by telephone, or mail taken by boat.

The doctor arrived by plane (landing at Paradise), but the sick man had to be taken out by boat instead of plane as they couldn't take the stretcher to Paradise over the Reese Bridge, which is undergoing reconstruction. She went with the man to Queenstown. She says the District Nurse is on leave as she has just had a baby, so she (Mrs Clarke) is helping out as a voluntary nurse. She has had a little bit of experience nursing in the past.

A road from Glenorchy is under consideration, but she feels it might be another twenty years before it is built.

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Year 1948

Reference number 5745

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Radio interviews
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Shaw, George, Interviewee
New Zealand Broadcasting Service. Mobile Recording Unit, Broadcaster

Duration 00:10:16

Date 01 Nov 1948