Irene Frances Tregurtha

Some of My Childhood Memories

I grew up in Westport where my Grandparent’s Richard and Elizabeth Tregurtha had shifted to in 1902 after my Grandfather retired from Lighthouse  keeping at Cape Foulwind, owing to ill health.

I am the oldest daughter of Percy, the second youngest of Richard and Elizabeth’s thirteen children.

I never knew my Grandparents but had a lot of contact with my cousins from two of Dad’s brothers and sister who also lived in Westport.

From time to time we would have a big family picnic together at the beach.

The time when I was born was at the beginning of the Great Depression so times were pretty tough. However, my Dad was a very resourceful man and as we had a large half acre section he had a big vegie garden, grew fruit trees of various sorts and kept hens and ducks so we never went hungry.

Dad also did all our shoe repairs. We also had an unmarried sister of Dad’s living with us and she was a marvelous cook. She kept us supplied with scones, cakes and biscuits besides cooking real nutritious meals.

Percy & Irene Tregurtha (2)

My Dad loved the outdoors and loved camping. I went on my first camping holiday when I was just thirteen months old and there were many more to follow.

Life was a lot simpler in those days.

The war came along in 1939 so life took on a more serious note.

We saw other cousins go off to war never knowing if they would return. Thankfully they all came home. Also along came rationing of things like butter, sugar and petrol. Then there were the blackouts where every night we had to put screens on the windows and wardens would patrol the streets to see that not a chink of light was showing.

Dad made an Air Raid Shelter which thankfully never had to be used for that purpose. It made a great playhouse for my brother and sister and myself.

Tregurtha Store Invoice small

Original invoice from the Tregurtha store,
first opened in 1902 by Irene’s grandfather
Richard Tregurtha.

Dad had a Hardware Store, one of the three in the town.

My Auntie who lived with us also helped out there, my brother worked there for a while as I also did for the last few years before I got married and then my sister took my place, so it was a real family business.

We made our own fun. There weren’t many cars around so we were able to run our trolleys up and down the street, all the neighbouring children joining in. What a noise we made but no one seemed to mind. We had freedom the young people today don’t have and I thank God with a grateful heart for my childhood years.

Written by Irene Baker nee Tregurtha.