George Andrija Lavich, Mr - Phillip John Samways 1895 1972 My Grandad.

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Phillip John Samways 1895 1972 My Grandad.
Our parents split up when I was four. Mum worked hard I know not where, to raise three kids on her own, with a mortgage. Consequently, we were farmed off on weekends and school holidays. Me to my grandparents on my mum's side and Petar at our grandparents on our father's side, Our Sister stayed with mum.
The earliest recall of grandad or gaga was all I could manage was that he work for the Post Office. He was the guy that erected post boxes. If a post box was damaged he would collect a new or repaired box from the Stanley Street, Auckland workshop and fit it to an appointed wooden lamp post. I know this because in the school holidays I was with him. When he retired at age 60, he worked for a while in a crayon manufacturing factory in Parnell Rise, Auckland.
I remember him to be a real Dag telling stories, sometimes the same ones. One favourite was when he worked on the wharf “Old Fred would stop at the gate by security to check his wheelbarrow full of sawdust. Each week they would stop him and pick all through the sawdust. They suspected he was pinching something but could never catch him. In the pub much later someone asked Fred why he wanted all that sawdust and with great pleasure, Grandad revealed that Fred was pinching the wheelbarrows, all ways to lots of laughter. I must have heard that story twenty times.
On Sundays, during the winter months, he would take me to watch the rugby league at Carlaw Park, in Parnell. He would stand on the side-line, opposite the stand and yell at the players “tackle ball and all” Or his favourite was yelling at the referee “‘You mug bastard” Anyone that crossed Grandad anywhere but especially on the road while driving was called a mug bastard.
He did not like Rugby, called it kick and clap. When I started playing rugby, it was rugby for the school in the morning and league for him in the afternoon. I played for his favourite team Glenora in the 13th grade, and we won the competition.
Grandad met Leah Jewell In England During the First World War. I will talk about our dear Grandmother in a future blog.
They raised their five children, predominately at 67 Vincent Street, Auckland. The Auckland Central Police Station now stands on this site.
In the summer months at age 7, On Sunday afternoons I would walk down Queen Street alone, to Princes wharf with my handline, fishing rigs and bread dough Nana had prepared, and fish for sprats. Grandad would come down after lunch and walk me back.
Sunday was the washing day for the week. Grandad boiled the washing in an outside copper. After the washing had been done then came the arduous task of rinsing the soap out of the washing.
First, grandad would ring as much of the soapy water out of the washing by hand as he could, this water going back into to dolly tub to be used for the next load of washing. Having rung out as much as could be rung out by hand then the washing would be put through a mangle to squeeze out as much water as possible.
The mangle that he had was a big wrought iron mangle with huge wooden rollers on and it used to live in the back yard just outside of the back door.
Heating was gas And it was necessary to put a shilling in the gas meter from time to time.
Sundays meant cold meat leftover from the Saturday joint with bubble and squeak for dinner because this was a quick and easy meal to prepare which is needed to be as wash day was very labour intensive.
I still like the taste of bubble and squeak, and I think that it is a delicious way to use up the leftover vegetables. Back then it was considered almost a sin to waste anything, so no food was thrown away if it could be re-purposed like in bubble and squeak, but today we seem to live in a throwaway world which often includes leftover food.
In 1959, I was eight and I remember thousands of people walked past 67 Vincent Street to walk the Auckland Harbour Bridge before it was opened to traffic.
In approximately 1962 our Grandparents moved to 14 Dunkirk Terrace, Mt Albert, Auckland. This was a brand new one-bedroom flat and it was there that they spent the rest of their life.
Grandad had a very large vegetable garden, over the years he converted most of the lawn into a garden. I recall once pinching some of his peas and he gave me a kick in the pants, not for stealing the peas but for leaving the evidence. He had an active compost system which I use to this day and I attribute my love for gardening to him.
Grandad and Nana loved horse racing especially Nana, she being English the sport of kings and all. As early as I can remember we attended country meetings in Paeroa. Thames, Dargaville And Whangarei. The MO was the same, on Saturday after breakfast they would make ham sandwiches with Colman's powdered mustard and a thermos of tea, then off we would travel in grandad’s box-shaped Ford Prefect car.
We would arrive early and park by the winning post as Nana was not very mobile. She would have the odd flutter, usually a double, her favourite numbers were 3/1. Grandad did not bet. His favourite saying was ‘I take my money from this pocket and put it in this other pocket”
While they watched the races I would collect empty glass soft drink bottles, in those days I received one Penny for small bottles and tuppence for large ones.
When we attended the Dargaville Race meetings we would travel a few days before and stay with their daughter and her husband my Auntie Daphne And Uncle Phil. They had four children Robin, Diane Janice and Karen. I remember on one occasion on an exceptionally hot November day we attended a Dargaville race meeting. Robin my older cousin came along.
By this time I coincided myself to be a professional soft drink bottle recovery person.
Grandad had a leather money belt made at his workplace. All-day I would stork large groups of thirsty race goers pouncing on their empty bottles and then race them back to drink sellers for a refund. By the end of the day I had nearly two pounds, and Robin had very little, and yes there were tears until I reluctantly had to share.
When I was approximately ten years old they purchased a pedigree miniature collie, named Tempo Leah’s Pride affectionately known as Nip. He was bred by my older cousin Carol Page nee Boardman. Grandad showed Nip and won a few ribbons when the dog was young. My job was to walk the dog.
To everyone’s amusement, he would howl when the music to Coronation Street started. Nip did not like to travel in the car, he would shake all over. I think it was grandads driving.
At this stage, I will add, that I knew very little about his personal life. I knew he was in the first world war and that he was wounded in the right arm. He would often say pointing to the scar in his right arm, “the bullet went in here and straight out the other side” He would tell his workmates “George asks me did I make the Germans run” and he would say “yes but they were chasing me”.I am sure he told this to all his grandkids.
They were both labour supporters and Grandad, in particular, had an opinion about things he felt strongly about. He was involved in the 1951 Waterfront lockout which lasted 151 days. His NZ Waterside Union card number was 1192.
Other than that I knew very little about the man. This is unfortunate as I would love to have heard stories from that time period. Because of this, I try to relay some of my past to my own grandchildren.
Approximately a year ago I started a family tree on geni.comand commenced researching the Samways line. After hours going through the website papers past, there are over 800 newspaper articles when searching Samways, I started to fill in the gaps of his past.
As I stated earlier most of the research I carried out on Philip John Samways was on the there are none of his children living I could only gather information from newspaper articles.
When I started out I did not expect to gather much in this area, however, I was in for a surprise.
When he was eight my grandfather and an unnamed Māori boy were arrested and appeared in the Waihi police court for stealing apples. {boy they are always sweeter when you steal them}according to the newspaper article each boy blamed the other for the idea to take the apples. The judge lectured the two boys about the taking of other people's property and discharged them without conviction.
On 24 May 1907, he appeared again in court along with his younger brother Henry George Samways. In short, the article stated,” At the police court this morning before Mr Max D King Two brothers Philip John Samways and Henry George Samways, Aged 11 and 9 years respectfully, were charged with stealing 3 pounds, from a private residence at Waken. On the application of Sergeant Mc Kinnon, they were remanded to appears again on the 23rd. This the sergeant explained, was to give the police time to make full enquiries into their home surroundings and the circumstances leading up to the theft.”
At the second court hearing, it was reported. “Two little boys, named Philip and George Samways, aged 11 and 9 respectively, were charged at the Waihi police court last week with having stolen 3 pounds, the property of Helena Stace. The eldest boy pleaded guilty, and the youngest pleaded not guilty. Sergeant Mc Kinnon explained that the eldest boy burglarize the house, and the youngest helped to spend the money. The eldest boy had been previously convicted at Paeroa and discharged. The children rarely attended school and reports from Paeroa shows that both the accused were uncontrollable. The father said he had beaten Phillip until he had nearly knocked him silly. The youngest boy was dismissed with caution, and the eldest was recommended for admission to an industrial school”.
The following Monday {May 1907}It was reported that Phillip John Samways was committed to a Burnham Industrial School.
Remember he was eleven years old. He had attended the court on this one offence three times and this was only his second offence, the first was for taking apples. Can you imagine this tough line taken today, not likely? The point I will make here is a young wayward boy and the system is attempting to correct him early. You may notice that his Burnham Industrial School sentence did not have a fixed term.
I did an Internet search of Burnham Industrial School, it was once the site of a school for neglected or delinquent children.
Then I found an article which read.
“At the Magistrate’s Court today Charles Warr, builder of Hamilton East was charged with having assaulted Phillip Samways A boy from the industrial school, at Takapuna, by holding in a bath, and allowing water to run on his head. A technical assault was admitted.
Evidence was given that the boy was incorrigible and lazy, that he was in the habit of getting out of the bedroom window at night, attending pictures and riding up and down the station on coaches till all hours of the morning. These escapades he detailed in letters to his father.
Letters were produced from the mother superior of the institution thanking Mr Warr and his wife for their kindness and efforts at reformation and expressing the belief that they had done their utmost towards the boy’s reformation.
The bench dismissed the case, and expressed the opinion that the punishment the boy received serves him right” The large headline for the article read “Serves him Right”.
He was eleven when sentenced to The Industrial School, and fifteen when he went to court when he claimed he was assaulted, so it is reasonable to assume he was there for four years. There is an article showing he attended high school in Paeroa.
As I write his final chapter after finishing a ham sandwich with Colman's powdered mustard which always takes me back to my youth.
I considered my grandparents to have been family people. They had five children and they visited them regularly.
Uncle Phil and his family live just down the road in Mt Albert, Auckland, Auntie Phyllis and her family live in the neighbouring suburb of Mt Roskill.
Uncle Reggie think living in Glen Innes. Uncle Reg would visit often, he looked very much like his father.
Grandad would drop Nana off at Mums fish and chip shop each day on the way to work so she would have some company. And then collect her on the way home and as I mentioned we visited Auntie Daphne’s family in Maungaturoto from time to time. All of these visits often included lunch.
My Grandad was a remarkable man. He lived through a major world depression, fought in The First World War and raised a family, with the help of Nana of course, through a Second World War and a major lockout that lasted 151 days. Quite remarkable.
I would never judge him for his earlier misdemeanours as very early in the 20th century was a difficult time to survive.
I have enjoyed visiting my early memories and recording a tiny piece of history. I challenge you to do the same.
This concludes my story on Grandad.
Who is next? You may be in the coming tale.

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