Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005

By Norma Collinge

We were born and brought up in Flora Street, Paeroa.

Our father, Reg Roberts, was a builder who had built the home previously, but as the family grew, he had to extend it. Our family consisted of Dad and Mum (Rose) and their five children, Len, Bruce, Clem, Kath and Norma. Clem unfortunately died at the age of eleven.

Our parents learned that the railway was going in and that the lines were going right next to our property, with the shunting yards at our end. They were rather dismayed at the prospect. However, they adjusted to the traffic coming and going, and we children used to wave to the engine drivers and passengers. There was one thing that Mum never got used to and that was the smoke going over the washing, if the wind was coming our way. Mum knew some of the engine drivers and they were sympathetic, shifting the engines as soon as possible. A station and refreshment rooms were built and an overhead bridge to cope with the foot and bike traffic.

When Kath and Norma were old enough, they were sent to the Thames High School daily on the train. This was because there was no proper high school in Paeroa at that stage. It was lots of fun making the daily trek and getting to know the train kids whom we picked up at all the stations we passed through. The train left at precisely 7.22am, leaving Thames at 4.00pm.

The boys had already joined Dad in the carpentry trade and when we left school, Kath joined Mum keeping house for a while and when War broke out, she joined the W.A.A.Cs. Norma went to work for Mr O'Neill, the Solicitor.

Eventually the railway closed down and the station and refreshment rooms were moved to Waikino. The tracks were pulled up and the overhead bridge was dismantled. The homestead passed out of our hands and so we saw the passing of another era.