The lawn mower Part 2 – an “enduring relationship”

The article on lawn-mowing has drawn a lot of interest, and the following is a contribution from an envirohistory NZ follower, Paul Knight (now 74) who has demonstrated that he has had an enduring association with the lawn mower:

This is a photo of me in 1936, at 14 months, “mowing” the lawns on my grandparents’ one acre property in Pt Chevalier, Auckland. In fact, I did end up with lawn-mowing duties – I mowed gannie and gampie’s lawns from primary school age right through to when I went to university. I used to run there and back from Mt Eden, where I lived.

My grandad, Howard Mays, built this house himself, completing it in 1912, in time for my mother’s birth. Their property had a lot of lawn, but also vegetable gardens, a glass house and numerous fruit trees (including such “exotic” varieties as  guava, figs, persimmons, tree tomato, passion fruit and pawpaw). The garden was famous locally for both its beauty and productiveness. Gampie was a plumber but he struggled to support a family of six, so the produce from the garden was carefully preserved, dried or otherwise processed for future consumption. Any excess produce was sold for some extra income.

The original house still stands, but the property has now been subdivided into five separate properties – one on which my cousin’s family still lives.

[Photo above left: Paul Knight at 14 months “mowing” his grandparent’s lawns, 1936; Above right: Howard and Louise Mays on their 1 acre property, Pt Chevalier, circa 1950]

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