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My Childhood in Birkdale

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

My Mum and Dad moved to our farm in 1929.

The 17 acres ran from the bottom of the Birkdale culvert to the bottom of Karaka (Kahika) Rd.

When we moved there it was mainly in blackberry, wattle trees and Ti tree. Dad had to clear his own land, cut the scrub, burn it off, and sow grass.

On the farm we had mainly poultry, up to 2000 fowls. We had cows, fruit, vegetables, and flowers—poppies, daffodils, and iris. My father would sell all his produce at the city markets, Turners and Growers. The local carriers Bill Wood and later Oliver Wood, and George Barrett would pick up and deliver the fresh produce once or twice a week.

We had about 10 cows and I was only a boy then, but I got up in the morning and milked the cows by hand. The cream was sent away to a factory in Mt Eden three times a week at first then later it was only once a week. We had no fridges in those days. Cream was kept in a safe under a tree or in a hole in the ground to keep it cool. The cream cans were taken to the top of the road on a wheelbarrow. My father was the last supplier of cream in the district.

I can remember my mother making butter with me using an old churn. The old churn and the butter pats were wooden. As I was only a boy then I do not remember the price this was sold for. We used to separate the cream from the milk and the milk was put into a big barrel and the milk was left to go into curds and whey, and used to mix the fowls mash.

When we were short of grass for the cows we used to graze them on Karaka Rd. I've even grazed them on Birkdale Rd.

Most of my friends and neighbours had farms in those days. There was a lot of fruit growing, especially strawberries.

Dad named our farm 'Misery Farm' during the 1930 depression, but although it was a hard life they were the good old days. I had a happy childhood out there in Birkdale.

- Lloyd Mumme, 1982


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