This Old House

Annemarie Endt-Ferwerda

This Poem depicts the pertinent points known about the oldest standing house in West Auckland, the Sunnydale Homestead.

Reputedly built in the early 1860’s it leaves a lot of unanswered questions which are recorded in the poem.

Having lived in this house for more than 50 years there are many things we do not know of its actual history.

I hope that the poem will encourage other interested people to dig deeper through the mist of time and help us understand more about the fascinating history of a time when the early pioneers from Britain settled here 150 plus years ago.


This Old House

How many years did it take them
To build this two story dwelling.
With only a shovel and pick
They managed it very quick
To carve quite a sizeable driveway
Through sticky mud and clay.
We have tried to see a reason
Why they went to such trouble here,
When things could be much easier
If they’d used the land up near.

 Maybe the heavy boulders
Used as foundation blocks
Were nearer to this chosen site.
Then it may make perfect sense
To build the house where it now stands.

 The Bushmen employed in this arduous task,
Were recruited fresh from the sea,
As the bottles which were left
Told us a bit of their history.

 Another factor in this brew
Of memories lost today,
Is how they could shift the enormous logs
That made up this house anyway.

 A saw-pit we found,
Plus a hook and a chain.
On a site which was a long way
To drag all that timber away
To the site it was bound to stay.

 So many questions keep popping up,
Like how many men, bullocks and gear
Were needed for them to construct
This huge house of  yesteryear.

 If only the timber they fashioned so well
Could tell us what tales they could tell.
Timber boards with an axe were split
Precisely  half ‘n inch thick.
Featured upstairs in the small hall
Fastened with handmade nails on the wall.

 The beams that hold up the iron roof
Which amazingly is still leak-proof,
Has got everyone wondering how they got
These enormous long lengths from just one log.

 We are still wondering how it was done
By the men who are now long gone
Using only bullocks a whip and a sledge,
It was quite a feat not to slip off the edge
As they hauled these logs over hill and dale
Through all the slippery mud and clay.

 But here it stands proud
Well over a century old.
It harboured the pioneers who sold,
Farm goods to Bushmen we’re told,
Plus hay and good fodder
For the big beasts of burden
Which were harnessed to the dray.

 It is hard to imagine that in consequent years
So many scenes have passed by,
Investors and lawyers and a widow or two,
All of them starting anew.
They too had their input and founded their space,
Between the four walls of this very old place.

 They all in their turn created a life,
Each had a story to tell of their strife.
Happiness too was part of the stew,
Sometime we may continue
To learn more of what they knew.