From Ngaire’s journal, 25th February 1959
At 3.45 pm we all left home and accompanied Carol to the Airport. She was very excited and looked beautiful in her crème colour coat, crème shoes, gloves and bag, apricot frock and pale green hat. The plane, piloted by Geoff White, left at 5pm and was due at Melbourne at 9.30 pm.’

I’m sticking with the aviation theme this week.

My parents met in Christchurch in 1958. Dad  – an Australian  – was there on a working holiday, and pursued Mum after spotting her in the Durham Street Methodist Church choir. In early 1959, my mother flew to Melbourne to be reunited with him and to see (with a view to marriage) what she thought of Australia.  It was to be the first of many Tasman crossings, backwards and forwards between Christchurch and Melbourne.

My mother Carol and her brother Warwick at Essendon airport Melbourne, 1960

My mother Carol and her brother Warwick at Essendon airport Melbourne, 1960

It’s hard not to feel a little envious of a time where passengers dressed so well and where you may know the pilot by name.  Melbourne readers looking carefully at the photo of my mother and uncle at Essendon airport may also envy the helicopter service into town. For those of you not from here, getting to our city’s airport is a journey that is neither convenient nor glamorous.

Geoff White went on to become a distinguished pilot with Air New Zealand, flying their first DC-8 into Wellington for the initial trials. I think he may now live in Australia.

And a post script. My father was hours late to pick Mum up in 1959, and she was left sitting on her suitcase outside the shed that served as a terminal at Essendon. A cleaner, locking up for the night, told Mum he doubted her  beau would show, but he did and the rest is history. He has never been on time for anything since.

2 thoughts on “Crossings

  1. This is another great blog! Geoff and Dorothy White now live near Albury and we met them about 3 years ago for lunch which was a great catchup. Dorothy and I sat next to each other in the Durham St choir. Knowing Geoff made my first flight to Melbourne so fabulous – I spent a long time in the cockpit, then when we were coming in to land the plane circled low over the city several times with the cabin lights off. I could see people playing night tennis and all the traffic of course.

    By the way, when Dad did turn up he had a brand-new car!



  2. That photo of Carol and me at the airport brings back memories. I think that I was about to fly to the Snowy Mountain area. She was probably pleased to see me go as she and Stan hadn’t been married long and having a brother share facilities in a small flat musn’t have been easy. Half the flat seemed to be filled up with Stan’s back copies of The Age weekend supplements, so there wasn’t much room left. From my part I was probably keen to leave too. Stan had a very loud ticking clock and I found it hard to get to sleep between ticks. Eventually I got around to to wrapping it in a towel to deaden the noise!


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