By DAVID HILL
Eddie and Norma Carr say Waipara and Amberley are barely recognisable from the places they moved to 60 years ago as a young married couple.
The Carrs celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last month and say they have seen some changes in North Canterbury since they first moved into the region in the 1950s.
“It (Waipara) was a wee settlement back then – more of a railway settlement,” Mr Carr recalled.
Mrs Carr said there was no running water in those days – they relied on rain water.
While Mrs Carr (85) was born in Woodend and Mr Carr (who turns 86 later this month) was born in Methven, the couple went to school in Christchurch.
Mr Carr had connections with North Canterbury, with Carrs Road at Loburn named after his grandfather, who purchased 3000 acres (1214ha) in the area in the 1880s.
After leaving school Mr Carr worked on a farm, before going to work as a metal spinner in Christchurch. His future bride was working for the same company and the couple was married in 1951, before going to work on a farm at Lincoln as a married couple.
They moved to Waipara around 1954, when Mr Carr gained employment with Road Services Transport based at Waipara where he remained for more than 30 years – the first 17 years as a truck driver and later working in the office.
“We travelled all over the South Island – they started with a fleet of three trucks and when I finished in 1986 they had 72 trucks on the road, with depots at Hawarden, Scargill and Cheviot.
“We transported wheat, hay, sheep, cattle, logs – everything.
“State Highway 1 used to be a one-way bridge over the Waipara River and the road went round behind the old (Waipara) hotel which burned down.”
The couple moved into a new house in Amberley in 1960 and remained in the town until 1992, when they decided to move to Hawarden.
“Amberley in 1960 was different entirely to today,” Mrs Carr recalled.
“They had quite a big RSA that they pulled down for the library and a big town hall which was pulled down.”
“There’s a lot more people now. We used to know them all, but we wouldn’t know a quarter of them now,” Mr Carr added.
Mrs Carr commuted into Rangiora in the 1980s, where she worked in the Hawkins grocery store in High Street and later Farmers.
The couple were keen whitebaiters, making regular trips to Buller to spend up to three months whitebaiting. They were also keen golfers, being members of the Amberley Golf Club for 28 years, before joining the Hawarden Golf Club.
After living in Perth, Western Australia, for three years, the couple moved to Rangiora in 1999, continuing to venture out to Hawarden to play golf until Mr Carr had a stroke 18 months ago.
Today the couple has three adult children, eight grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.