Memories of Kevin and Peter Molloy
Molloy home. Undated. Photo courtesy Shona Kenny nee Molloy.
Aerial of Molloy home.
Source: Image extracted from Retrolens 22 08 1961 SN1388
These are the reminisces of brothers Kevin and Peter Molloy in 2021. They lived in Glenside on the historic Drake property from c1953 to 1971. The house pictured above, is where they lived. It has now gone and the farm is now a mix of reserve and suburban housing, accessed from Wingfield Drive off Middleton Road.
In the 1950’s, their parents Colin and Kathleen Molloy were living in Ngaio. They moved to Glenside to give their children a country upbringing. The children, aged from oldest to youngest, were Pat (born 18 June 1949), Peter (born 15 December 1950) Kevin (born 3 November 1952) and Shona (born 30 March 1956).
The farm the Molloys bought was the historic farm of Thomas and Ceres Selina Drake. It had been held in the Drake family from 1845-1898.
The farmhouse the Molloys moved into had been built on the site of the former Drake homestead and was surrounded by the Drake plantings of beautiful specimen trees.
After the Molloys sold in 1971, their house burned down. The farm was eventually sold to a developer for suburban housing and the original Drake house site and speciman trees are now enclosed within a reserve.
In the old days, when the land had been owned by the Drake family, the Drakes sub-divided a section off their farm for their relatives Creasey and Sarah Ann Broderick. The remnants of the Broderick clay homestead was still there when the Molloys had the farm. The Broderick clay house site was bulldozed for housing in 1977.
Molloy home in Glenside
Molloy home. Undated. Photo courtesy Kevin Molloy.
"This is our house. It was a three-bedroom house. The room on the right (south-west) is where we three boys slept. The front door beside the bedroom was never used, people went in the back door. The long row of windows is the lounge, we hardly ever used that room, it had a piano in it. The room on the left (north) is Mum and Dads room. The main living room and kitchen was at the back, and Shona had a room to herself."
1955. Left Patrick John Molloy. Right, Peter Rea Molloy.
Photo courtesy Shona Kenny nee Molloy.
The same scene from the book ‘Tawa Flat and the Old Porirua Road.’
This photograph is undated. It was taken before the old Drake house burned down in c1937.
The Move to Glenside
"We moved to Glenside in 1953. I remember the move, I was two years old and I remember a bike was way up high on top of the furniture. It was a great place to bring us up. We had about 11 acres. Dad was from a farming family in Southland and Mum was a Westcoast girl born in Reefton and brought up in Westport, so they understood the outdoors. It was out in the country."
"I was only a toddler when we moved, I was born in Ngaio and would have been aged 1 or 2. At the time Dad was a barman at the Railway Hotel. He later worked on the wharfs, a wharfie. I think my parents moved to Glenside for us, so that we children could have a good upbringing in the country. It was in the country then. We had 12 acres, a milking cow, a couple of horses, chooks, and ducks. There was also the streams and bush, so plenty of room for a young growing family."
Life on the farm
Aerial of Molloy home showing outbuildings
Source: Image extracted from Retrolens 22 08 1961 SN1388
"The house was pink stucco. There were two driveways, the big drive and the little drive, leading to the same property and the bus stop was right in front. There was a bridge as you came up the drive and Dad had a vegetable garden. The property had an orchard with apples, and sheds and outhouses out the back. Our water was gravity fed from the creek."
"There was a glasshouse out the back where Dad grew his tomatoes and a sort of a small hut out the back made of mud, like made of chicken wire and concrete and it was all muddy. It was the wine shed."
"The glasshouse had grapes. Kevin and I used to always play on the roof of that glasshouse I don’t know why. Kevin fell through the glass house and cut a chunk out of his arm."
"We didn’t have a name for the farm. There were two approaches to the drive, one coming from the north and one coming from the south. There was a lot of bush on the property."
"Mum had a beautiful hedge around the garden but she always had a lot of trouble with that hedge as people would drive into it."
"There was a white set of concrete steps down from the house to the hedge that finished under the trees by the bridge. One year it flooded to the bottom of those steps."
"Behind the house there were quite a few buildings. There was the old orchard, the glasshouse, the wash house, a chook house and a building we called the wine shed which had porcelain tiles and a sink. We understood it was where they made wine." [Ed. Gwen Silvester nee Rowell said previous owners had distilled whisky here and sold ice-cream to travellers on the main road as a front to the whisky sales.]
"There were also the remnants of a big sawmill with the motor still there and a seed shed."
"When we moved there the motorway had opened and it was no longer the only road between Wellington and Porirua however there was still a lot of traffic on the road, we called it the old Porirua Road. I used to breed bantams, Chinese Silkies and sell them live at the gate."
"There were beautiful trees on that block. There were two creeks that met on the corner where the house was. The garage was on the paddock. Just past the garage where the two driveways met, there was a turn left and you crossed a concrete bridge and there were glow worms along the creek banks. Under the bridge there were vehicle number-plates embedded into the concrete."
"When you crossed the creek, there was a shed on the left and on the right was an old cow shed where they once milked. It was a large area fenced off with cow bails. It wasn’t used for cows by us, that was before our time. We had pigs in there."
"We bred pet lambs and had a few killers (sheep for meat)."
Spring fed water supply
Broderick and Drake archaeology on Retrolens map of 28 September 1945
Broderick and Drake archaeology on Retrolens map of 22 August 1961
Up past the garage you can see a track cut into the hill. I think that led to a house up at the top. It was levelled out and had strange furrows on the land, you can see them on the map, I don’t know what that was all about. Against the fence you can see two hollows, they were wells which supplied water to our house. They were fed from a spring, which was nearby. When they ran dry, we used water from the creek. [Ed. This was the site of the Broderick clay house, bulldozed for sub-division in 1977.]
A boyhood in Glenside
Peter Molloy - Runaway cattle
Aerial of Glenside sheep and cattle saleyards
Source: Image extracted from Retrolens 22 08 1961 SN1388
"I remember when I was about four years old walking from the house up to Johnsonville with a family group. I got wild about something and was steaming up the road in front of everyone else. A mob of cattle were coming down the road and a cattle beast knocked me down. One of my cousins took to it with a purse. This happened around about where Sandy Hegh’s place was. A ranger shot the thing there, right in front of us. A couple of years later when a mob of cattle were being moved, they got into St Brigid’s school and a decision was made that cattle had to be trucked, not driven." [Ed. The Hegh’s home was on Middleton Road, just north of the Anglican Church.]
Kevin Molloy - Creeks, train tunnel, hill slide
"We played in the creeks a lot and built forts and fished for trout and watched the fish as kids do. One of the things we did was walk up the creek to the tunnel under the motorway where the water came through."
"We played down at the railway tunnel a lot and one of the games there was to play chicken with the train on our bikes. I think about it now and am horrified but when we were kids we didn’t think there was anything wrong. We would see who could stay the longest on the track. It was a stupid thing to do."
"We used to get sheets of corrugated iron and slide down the hill on them. One of our places to do this was on the hill down Stebbings Road [now Glenside Road] just past Gwen’s Silvester’s, on the left. I remember playing there, scooting down the hill on corrugated iron with Phil Stoebener."
"Moxies pond was up Stebbings Road. All the local kids spent summer there, swimming. To get to it, we went through a gate on Stebbings Road up to Len Stebbings."
"The pond was halfway along Stebbings Road, on the gravel part of the road. It was a good swimming hole for the kids. Kids would go down on their bikes and swim and pick blackberries. We picked blackberries and would take them home and mum would make blackberry jelly and jam.”
"When we were about 10 or 12, maybe younger, we would do a big walk up the hills to the top where the goldmine is. It was a big day to go out to it, it was so high up in the hills. To get into the mine, you had to step over the shaft. One day one or two of our group stepped on it and dropped – it sunk below them. We had to pull them out. We stayed away from it for a while after that, it gave us such a fright."
"It was fun shooting rabbits until the Churton Park houses began to get built. One day we were back at home after shooting rabbits and all of a sudden the police turned up, wanting to know what was going on. That was the end of our rabbit shooting."
"The local bobby was George Knox, who lived in Morgan Street in Johnsonville. He had an old bubble top Holden."
School and after school jobs
Kevin Molloy - cars and paper run
"We kids went to school at St Brigid’s in Johnsonville. Dad had the car at work - first there was a Ford, then an Austin Cambridge and in the end it was a Holden Station-wagon - so we walked and biked to Johnsonville. When we were older, we took the train into town and went to St Pat’s College."
"I had a paper run in the area, working with Phil Woods, who had the Fruit & Vege shop in Johnsonville and had the agency for the Evening Post."
Wahine storm 10 April 1968
"I was working for the sharemilker Dennis Berry. I used to milk for Dennis before school and after school. In December 1967 when I left school, I went working for Dennis. I would have been about 17."
"I worked for Dennis at the time of the Wahine storm. We were milking on the McPherson farm. We had a cowshed way up the back off Cunliffe Street. On that day Dennis went by road, taking the back way to the sheds and I went in at the main road entrance and was probably going to pick the cows up on the way. I got the tractor out and went past the McNairs and the wind was roaring. I looked back at the roar and 25 macrocarpa trees had fallen where I had just been."
The big fire
"Up on the hills there was this cow shed, up the back up by Cunliffe Street. The hills on the left were gorse and Angus Cameron and Alistair McPherson (he died in tragic circumstances when a bulldozer rolled on him) put firebreaks in but the fire ran away on them. It was such a big fire the airport was closed down due to the smoke."
Pender pig farm
"The Penders had to protect their pigs as people tried to steal them. To do this they had long wires with dogs tied to them. I worked at Penders, doing the garbage run. It was quite scary walking to their place for work at four o’clock in the morning as you would hear the dogs howling and the wire zinging as they raced along it toward you - you had to get to the truck before they got to you!"
"When we shifted to Glenside, Stewie Pender was already there. In about 1972-73 my brother Pat and I bought a place up Stebbings Road that was about 3 ¾ acres for $10,000. We bought it off Stewie Pender. It was used for grazing by kids for their horses, that sort of thing. We didn’t build there as by 1974 I had moved to the South Island. There were two houses up there, one was Ronnie Penders, then you carry on past there to Pat and my place, then onto another guys house, his name was Bluey."
"We eventually sold to Callenders for $175,000 in the eighties. We were down in the South Island and it was not possible to manage. We got the price we wanted for it, and it was a good price."
"Up the road was Robbie Robinson. He ran the Dairy when it was brand new. It was a big thing having the Dairy there back in the day. It was a place where kids could walk and spend their loot and buy some lollies, or as we got older, a packet of fags and be like real men and have a smoke!"
"On Friday night it was a treat to walk up to a school friends house on Ironside Road. They had a television and on Friday we were allowed to go up there and watch it."
The Russians: "They weren’t Russian of course but you know what kids are. They looked strange and they lived up the back of our place on the hill and were hardly ever seen so we called them the Russians."
The Russians: "We don’t know who lived in that house, it was up a steep hill behind us in the trees and hidden away and we called the people living there the Russians as it was a sort of secret location."
"Don and Dorothy McPherson farmed on the left where there is now an entrance into Churton Park. [Ed. Now the entrance to Halswater Drive.] Later Dennis Berry was the sharemilker They had a lot of buildings there including a big shed. One day the traffic cop, Peter Slieker was after me, so I ripped into the McPherson’s barn and whipped the door across. He never got me!"
"I remember the McPhersons, they had a daughter Donna, my age. They were farming on the north of us."
"The McNairs were in the little cottage on the hill next to them. They had a son our age." [Ed. Now 219 Middleton Road. The McNair children were Alan, David, Elaine and Gillian.]
"The McCraes lived down the road from us on the right – we kids got to that house across the paddocks past the springs and wells on our farm. Their actual driveway was across a bridge crossing over the creek from the main road, opposite Wilsons there. I think their property was owned by Wrightson’s who had the saleyards. Old man David McCrae was a stockman down there and the saleyards were on the right [East] side of the road down there where you turned in. He had a son, Young Davey."
"Frank Flipp lived opposite us up high on the hillside, you got to his property by coming in through the back, a farm track access that came across the back of the property. There was a creek where the first entrance to Churton Park is now [Ed. Churton Drive] and a farm track beside it and that was up to Frank Flipps."
"The Savage family were on the corner. The parents were Budge and Sally, the children were Maryann, Brian, Susanne and Heather." [Ed. Previously the Taylor farm.]
"Harry Glass-Johnson was an engineer at Downers and lived on the opposite corner [Ed. Now Twigland Garden Centre.] He used to give us the ball-bearings for wheels for our trolleys and we would belt down Middleton Road on them. The road was sealed, being the old main road."
"I was out visiting a few years ago and couldn’t believe the housing development all over those hills we used to run around on as kids."
"The milkstand on the corner of the main road and Stebbings Road was used by the Savages. They had bought Taylors place. They had to bring their milk down to there."
"I have a memory of big cans being collected from there."
"Don McPherson had a milkstand outside his farm gate, on the opposite side of the road, and put his milk out on that."
Telephone party line
"The Coulls were on the on the same party line as us. Their kids, Mary and her sister Christine Coull, were our age There were only our two families on the party line. The Coulls lived down Stebbings Road, where the Trendles and other families were. I don’t remember the party line number but when we went onto our own line, our number was 74984."
Remnants on the Molloy farm
Peter "This was the machine running the saw mill in the saw shed. There was a big hunk of machinery in it, that used to run a saw where they used to cut lumber in there."
Kevin “I don’t think Dad ever used it, it was all covered over. I cut my arm on it the saw teeth, jumping up to have a look at the saw. I have the scar today.”
Top image taken in 2019 and lower image taken in 2021.
Peter "Looks like the old chook house up the top."
Kevin "That’s the chook house."
Peter and Kevin "The wine shed."
Peter "This is the path to the wine shed. That’s when I first learned I could outrun my mother! She chased me with the broom and I can remember hightailing it up the track into the orchard. I stayed low until things calmed down but that was my realisation I could out-run her. From then on, when I thought I was going to get into trouble, I would run away as fast as I could!
Kevin "Did Peter tell you about the time he and Pat chased me up that path? They were both picking on me and chased me so I high-tailed up the path and up the hill toward the Russians. At the top of the hill behind the house was a big macrocarpa and I raced up it and the buggar’s came after me! I swarmed out on a branch and they followed me and I fell off. I was unconscious. I think I appeared home a little bit white and bruised and blackened. I was probably only about 6 or 7 then."
"We left Glenside in about 1971, Mum got sick. We sold it to Alan Power for about $180,000 (Peter thought it sold for $120,000). and Dad bought a house in Stewart Drive, Newlands. Alan Power on-sold to someone else and was not involved in the development of the farm for housing."