Happy memories of home

Catherine Wintrup (nee Smaill) (88) returns to Glencairn Homestead (Tautuku Fishing Club), where she grew up, as part of the Smaill family reunion yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Catherine Wintrup (nee Smaill) (88) returns to Glencairn Homestead (Tautuku Fishing Club), where she grew up, as part of the Smaill family reunion yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
As 88-year-old Catherine Wintrup took a seat in the front room of the Tautuku Fishing Club, her finger pointed as she explained: ''There used to be a fireplace there, some beautiful chairs over there and velvet curtains on the windows.''

Mrs Wintrup (nee Smaill, of Christchurch) is the great-granddaughter of Charles Smaill, who came to Dunedin on the ship Strathallan to settle, and granddaughter of Alexander Smaill, the builder and original occupant of the 1870s two-storey stone house, previously called Glencairn Homestead.

For her, the return to her childhood home, for a Smaill family reunion, was special and brought back a flood of memories.

She recalled with family members the large chandelier in the hallway and the brass railings around the fireplaces.

''I loved it here, I always loved it. Something stirs in the blood - all the good memories.

''The only thing I didn't like was the brass railings around the fire because it was my job to clean them.''

She had to leave the homestead in her late teens, when her father, William Smaill, died and the farm was sold. She said he was a great fisherman and hunter, and it was no surprise the house was now used by a fishing club.

In the late 1800s, the Smaill family was the centre of the small farming community in the Tomahawk/Smaills Beach area, known for their community involvement and progressive farming practices.

To recognise the family's historic connection with the area, a plaque with the homestead's history was unveiled, and a trophy was donated to the Tautuku Fishing Club to be presented in a fishing competition.

About 30 descendants of the Smaill family attended the reunion.

-john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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