Topic: Aaron Ball Woodcock (1932-1970)

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Aaron Woodcock,my father moved to Tauranga with their two children around 1935.

Archived version here.

Aaron Ball Woodock was born in Putaruru  21 March 1910 He was the third child of Aaron Woodock and Mary (nee)  McIndoe.He began his schooling in Putaruru. The family moved to Auckland where Aaron began his working life as an apprentice butcher until finally taking up baking.It was while as a baker that he met and married Doris Aughton. Doris at the time was living and working in Hamilton as a housemaid. Doris had emigrated to New Zealand in 1904 from England with her grandmother and Aunts and Uncles. Her mother came on later. They were married in Auckland at the Salvation Army Hall on 3rd August 1929. They were both 19. The witnesses were Albert Baden White ( butcher) - Doris' uncle, and James Pemberton Sunderland (bread carter)  Aaron was a member of  the Salvation Army band playing the cornet at that time so naturally they married at the Salvation Army.

Prior to the wedding Aaron would serenade Doris on the saxaphone playing    "I"ll be loving you always"

Sadly there are no photos of their wedding as it took place late in the day, but we do have a photo of the wedding cake which Aaron had iced. His parents were unable to attend the wedding due to the fact that his father was working on the roads during the Great Depression. Should you not turn up for work someone else took your job.

Doris married for one reason only and that was to have a family of her own.  It was to be three years before their first child arrived Iris Evelyn.

Due to the depression there were plenty of empty houses to rent and they regulary moved from house to house in Avondale. One such house so they learnt later, had been a murder sight. Or rather an attempt at embezzelment. The residents of the time had placed an unknown body in the garage, set it alight then attempted to claim insurance.Their attempt was foiled by dental records of the body.                  

Aaron was a keen golfer and his other hobby was breeding birds. Mostly canary's. Every house they lived in had an aviary. Aaron continued working making bread and icing wedding cakes. Wedding cakes, normally three tier, were very elegant and took many hours to complete. 

Two years later child number two arrived, Gordon Aaron also born in Avondale on 29th November 1934. Soon after his birth Aaron was offered a position in a bakehouse in Tauranga. To begin with they lived in 9th Avenue, which was about as far as Tauranga went in those days - It was here that Gordon contracted pneumonia. Doris spent many weeks sitting beside the fire nursing him back to health. 

Soon after Gordon's recovery a house became vacant for rent in the heart of Tauranga owned by a Miss Whittaker -  11 Durham Street. From here Aaron was able to walk to work, instead of biking as he had been doing in the past. Miss Whittaker wished to sell 11 Durham Street and offered it to my parents for the princely sum of 800 pounds. What a prime piece of real-estate it turned into. But having seen the devastation on so many families who lost their home during the depression because they couldn't meet their mortgage payments,  they didn't take up Miss Whittakers offer.

This house was next door to Tauranga's orginal movie theatre - The Civic - later to be re-named the San Fransico. During WW2 it was used as a dance hall to entertain the American troops. who were camping on the Wharepai Domain. Most of these young men were only boys and were very homesick. Mum found one of them holding little Harry crying because he had a brother the same age back home. A group of servicemen were invited into the house and had a great time playing with our pet lamb. Many, had never set eyes on a lamb before. They autographed my book which I have to this day. I wonder how many of them made it safely back home after the war?

Another event held in the Civic was a performance by a hypnotist. Aaron had been to the show and had invited him home afterwards to supper. Doris thought these types of shows were a sham until the man offered to hypnotise my brother Gordon.  Doris stood in the doorway watching the proceedings, when suddenly she fell to the floor. She had concentrated so hard that she ending up being the one hypnotised. The man eventually brought her around, and she commented, that that night she had the best nights sleep in years.

This building, owned by Morrie Munroe, was a great place for us children to play. The projection room still contained posters of movies long past. I was only sorry that I had never rescued them as I am sure they would have been bulldozed  up when the building was demolished to make way for what is now a car park.

Our close neighbours were the McLauchlane's, Dashwood's ( Mr Dashwood was clerk of the court) Morton's, Mackies ( Mr Mackie worked for the Power Board) and the Vasey's ( Harry Vasey drove the fire-engine and worked for Jack Leith.

During World War 2 Aaron tried unsucessfully to enlist, but was turned down each time as the following Bay Of Plenty Times cutting shows - "N. Horscroft baker, appealed against the calling up of Aaron Ball Woodock, the appeal being adjourned until January 31 to give appellant a further opportunity to replace reservist. Reservist was ordered to join the Home Guard within seven days for training with the second division. The chairman said that reservist had volunteered and was anxious to get away." end of quote. He was deemed to be in nesessary employment. His friend Keith Dunlop, a butcher was also ruled out and was very bitter about receiving  a white feather in the post. A white feather represented a coward, but neither Keith nor Aaron were that.  Aaron continued working for Lew Horscroft as a baker until the war ended and the men returned home. One of them being Bert Parnwell who bought the business that then became Parnwells Bakery.

Aaron's brother in-law Stanley Aughton, a single man, was already serving overseas in Egypt in the 14 NZ Lt Regiment 2nd N Z E a dispatch ride. In 1944 his motorbike was shot from under him and when the plane came back Stan wisely remained still beneath the bike, living to tell the tale. After this  he was invalided home with a busted knee which plagued him for the rest of his life.

Aaron finally had to leave the bakery business because of ill health. Bread making in 1945 was done manually and flour dust had got into his lungs. His working life had gone full circle as he then went back to being a butcher once more. He managed Hillsdene Butchery  on the corner of 14th Avenue and Devonport Road where the Medical Centre now stands. This business was owned by Keith Dunlop.Dad was very intrigued by his women customers who didn't have a clue as to how to cook the meat they purchsed, so as well as selling them the meat, he also explained how to cook it. This business eventually closed and he went to work for Alf Baikie at Heatons Transport and it was while working here the opportunity arose for him to drive the ambulance

Aaron for many years, was a member of the Tauranga Brass Band playing the trumpet. After giving this up he, his two sons Gordon and Harry and daughter Betty became involved with the St John's Ambulance. Later, his wife Doris also became involved. Aaron became Superintendant of the Cadet Division. This involved weekly practises at the St John's hall. Son Gordon took over as relief driver of the ambulance on weekends until it was discovered that he did not have a Heavy Duty licence. It was then that  Aaron took over as driver and his wife Doris eventually shared in the driving.

The Ambulance Hall was situated on Cameron Road close to the Tauranga Primary School. In its early days those involved were all volunteers, which meant funds had to be raised to purchase uniforms and equipment. A regular dance was held each Saturday night along with  many second hand clothing sales days.

Part of the duties of the cadets were attending Saturday football and Netball games. They had the nickname of "Zambucks" and would run onto the field to check out those injured, treating them with cold water, or if it was a more serious injury calling for the ambulance to take them to hospital.

Driving the ambulance was a little more demanding as the phone had to be manned 24hours a day 7 days a week. apart from when the relief driver took over some weekends. My parents began driving in 1954 and ended in 1965. During this time they covered some 94,454 off miles. Travelling as far north as Kawakawa and as far south as Wellington. Their first thought waas always for their patients. Wanting to get them to hospital as quickly as possible for the best possible care.They had the greatest respect for the doctors and nurses at the Tauranga hospital, as well as the police who helped at the scene. At my parents Golden wedding celebration one of these policemen spoke of his experience when a young scout had fallen in the Kaimai ranges. He spoke of a little 5foot woman, up to her waist in water helping to bring the young boy out. 


This page archived at Perma CC in November of 2016:

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Aaron Ball Woodcock (1932-1970)

First Names:Aaron Ball
Last Name:Woodcock
Date of Birth:1910
Place of Birth:3rd August 1910
Country of birth:New Zeland
Date of death:23rd August 1973
Place of death:Tauranga
Place of burial:Cremated
Family Surname:Woodcock
Place of settlement in Bay of Plenty:Tauranga
Date of arrival in Bay of Plenty:1935
Residential address:Durham Street Tauranga
Spouses name:Doris
Spouses date of birth:20-12-1910
Spouses place of birth:Southport England
Spouses date of death:4-11-2000
Spouses place of death:Tauranga
Spouses place of burial:Cremated
Spouses nationality:English
Date of marriage:3rd August 1929
Place of marriage:Avondale
Fathers name:Aaron Woodcock
Fathers date of birth:28-9-1859
Fathers place of birth:Barnsley England
Fathers nationality:English
Mothers name:Mary Millar McIndoe
Mothers date of birth:3-8-1883
Mothers place of birth:Holytown Scotland
Mothers date of death:24-12-1941
Mothers place of death:Tauranga
Mothers nationality:Scotish

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Aaron Ball Woodcock (1932-1970) by Iris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License