William John Roydhouse- my Grand-dad

William[at back] Donald, Malcolm and Muriel Roydhouse  taken about  1914. The exercise  pose is because Francis their father was a Physical Education teacher, and his uncle Arthur was well known in the South Island as a travelling PE Inspector for schools.

Born in September of 1905 , first child of Francis and Muriel nee Crawley, as an adult he was known by his middle name, John. He had six brothers ( three sets of twins) and one sister. In  1919 he was recorded as attending Wanganui Technical College.

By 1928 he was a civil servant  living in Auckland , and in 1929 he married Mildred Millicent Adams. A son, Peter, was born first, then Colleen and Jill.

L: R : Colleen, Peter and Jill circa 1936

The electoral roll of 1938 shows the Roydhouse family living in Napier, and John is an Inspector of Factories. Eight years later, the family is settled in Wanganui, where John and Mildred lived in Cauis Avenue for at least ten years, before having a corner shop in Dublin Street.

In 1958, when I was 2 years old, my Mum and Dad shifted from New Zealand to NSW, and my families contact with all relatives was virtually non-existent.. Sadly, my time with Grandad was limited to two occasions once we had moved to Australia.

The first was in 1961 when Mum took 4 children to visit her parents in Wanganui, I was 5.

At the time, Granny and Grand-dad lived upstairs from their shop. I can remember the novelty of Granny hanging her washing out the window on a pulley rope to dry over the neighbours roof-top. I also remember that Grand-dad smoked a pipe and could play an accordion really well, his had a squeeze end and a bellows end and when I saw it in 1961 the keys were yellowing.

Granny and Grand-dad came to visit in 1964 when we were living in Armidale, NSW, and the baby of our family was about 6 months old. I was 8 that year, and although I can’t recall much about their visit my Grand-dad had a very special place in my heart.

My Mum’s favourite story about her Dad was set in WW2 when Grand-dad was a warden and had to go around the streets and make sure no lights were showing through windows (in case of enemy plane attack).To his embarrassment, he went past his own house one night and found Granny had left cracks of light showing.

In 1966 Mum went back to NZ to visit as her Dad had terminal cancer, he passed away aged 60 on the 24th July of that year.

Wanganui Cemetery :John and Mildred

I have a musical decanter that John and Mildred  owned. The glass dome inside the bottle allowed the dancers to twirl to the music, which I believe is called “How Dry I Am “.

I found a short video on You Tube of the bottled dancers after the key has been wound up.

Author: gorcat28

writing up my ancestors one week at a time

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