Fishing, sight-seeing and selling
On January 7, we embarked on the SS Otranto. It was the ship’s maiden voyage.
On January 20, we arrived in Port Said and met Mr Danon, our agent. We sailed at 6.15 pm and entered the Suez Canal at 7 pm. We were out by 11 am the following day.
On January 30, we arrived in Colombo, Ceylon and called at Cargills Ltd.
On February 9, we arrived at Freemantle, Australia and met Dr S.C. Moore. [Through my wife Alice (Moore) I had many family connections in the Antipodes.] We called on several houses in Perth, which is twelve miles up the Swan River, and found William Clark & Sons almost unknown there. Perth is about 3,000 miles from Sydney and our agent, McMahon, had not troubled about it. We left Perth the same evening.
On February 13, we arrived in Adelaide but spent only six hours there, and called on several houses.
On February 15, we arrived in Melbourne and were met in the Menzies Hotel by our agent, Mr W.H McMahon. The rate at the hotel was 25 shillings a day for room and board.
Here I got the very sad news by cable of the death of my son-in-law Commander Roland Clark, who had contracted a tropical disease while on naval service in Africa.
Great attention and kindness was shown to us in Melbourne by Mr R.J. Harvey and Mr Parker of Wenzels. We like Melbourne very much although the weather was terribly hot.
On February 25, we left Melbourne at 5 pm for Sydney and had to change trains at Albury at 10 pm owing to the different gauge. It was here that the Kelly gang from Rasharkin, County Antrim operated for years.
On February 26, we arrived in Sydney at 10.30 am and stayed at the Wentworth Hotel, at a rate of 25 shillings each for room, board and bath. We found Sydney much hotter than Melbourne 100 in the shade)and very moist. Charlie Parsons was very kind to us and took us for long motor drives. The population at that time was one and a quarter million people. We were also shown great kindness by Matthew and Mrs Robinson who took us for a wonderful three days’ motor tour to the Blue Mountains, Genola Caves, Goulburn.
We also met my old friend, Mr George Stuart, uncle of my daughter-in-law Sybil. George made us members of the Union Club.
On March 6, we left Sydney on the SS "Cuma" for Brisbane (600 miles) where we remained at Gresham Hotel, (rate 21/6d. each) and met my nephew Newport and his wife, as well as several other local people. Brisbane is a splendid city and owing to the very hot climate is a good market for dress linens.
On March 11, we left Brisbane by rail at 8.05 am, lunched at Toowoomba, where we again had to change trains owing to the different gauge, passed through the famous Darling Downs, the finest lands in Australia.
On March 12, we arrived back in Sydney at 11.25 am having passed through Newcastle. The scenery near Newcastle, along the Hawkesbury river, is beautiful. On our return to Sydney the weather became awfully hot.
On March 14, a Sunday, it was unbearable and impossible to walk out, but by 3 pm it was extremely cold and raining.
On March 20, a Saturday, we sailed in the SS "Ulimora" for New Zealand. It suddenly became very cold and I got a severe chill.
On March 24, we landed in Auckland at 1.30 pm. We were met by Mr McDonald our agent, and were delighted with the glorious scenery. We stayed at the Grand Hotel, (rate 25 shillings a day each). Here we met Zane Grey [a famous writer] and Captain L.D. Mitchell.
On March 27, we left at 10.20 am for Rotorua, and arrived 5.30. We were met by Geoffrey Moore (my wife’s brother-in-law) and put up at the Grand Hotel. We spent a day fishing and sightseeing, and caught a number of large trout. Here again we met Zane Grey and Captain L.D. Mitchell.
On March 29, a Monday, we left for Taupo at 2 pm in Geoffrey's car, a 56-mile run through beautiful scenery. We arrived Taupo at 6 pm and did a lot of fishing over Easter and caught some very large trout running up to 8 ½ lbs. Here we met Zane Grey and Captain L.D. Mitchell yet again.
On April 2, we left Taupo in Geoffrey's car and had a wonderful ninety-six mile run through wild country to his home at Rissington, arriving at 5.30pm. We spent a few delightful days with the Moores.
On April 12, we motored to Napier – 20 miles – where we got a train for Wellington, fare, 33 shillings. There had been a terrible drought in the Hawke’s Bay district and sheep and cattle were dying in thousands, sheep were selling at 1 shilling each and good cows for 1/6.
On April 13, after spending a day with customers, we left for Lyttleton by steamer, arriving in Christchurch, which is only a few miles from Lyttleton, at 6.30 am the next morning. We booked several good orders from Ackroyds and others.
On April 17, we left for Dunedin, passing through the splendid Canterbury Plains, the finest lands in New Zealand. This was a run of 230 miles, and we arrived in Dunedin at 8.45 pm.
On April 18, we spent a delightful day seeing round Dunedin and called on Mr F.H. King our customer.
On April 21, after a couple of days making calls on customers, we left for Timaru at 11.20 am arriving at 4.40. Next day we fished in the Opihi river, but the season was practically over and we had no luck. Very small flies are required for this river, whereas, in the North, the largest salmon flies are the best.
On April 23, we arrived back in Wellington at 6.30 pm, where again met Zane Grey and Captain Mitchell at the Grand Hotel. We spent another few days calling on Wellington customers before sailing in the SS Tahiti for San Francisco.
We got over a dozen telegrams from New Zealand customers wishing us a pleasant voyage.
On April 28, we saw the last of New Zealand at 7.45 am
On May 1, we spent a delightful day in Raratonga.
On May 3, we landed in Tahiti and stayed for 24 hours. We spent a delightful time on this most beautiful island, the Queen of the Pacific. We went out in a boat with part of the bottom [made] of glass. As we glided over the beautiful coral we saw hundreds of fish of all colours and a local man dived and speared them.
On May 5, we heard of the coal strike in England.
On May 7, we crossed the line at 10.35 am.
On May 14, we arrived in San Francisco and stayed at the Palace Hotel. We called on various customers over the next four days.
On May 18, we left for Camp Curry, Yosemite Valley – a perfect Heaven on earth.
On May 19, we went from the valley by coach to see the Big Trees (Mariposa Grove), some being 36 feet in diameter and 300 feet high, and we actually drove through the trunk of one of these trees in the coach.
On May 20, we left for Los Angeles at 10.45 am arriving next morning and stayed with my old friend, Charles Beresford, until Monday 24th. (He died on April 24, 1946). He took us on many wonderful drives and at Long Beach we met Bob Johnston’s son and McKay, and several other old comrades from back home.
On May 24, we left Los Angeles at 8 am and arrived in San Francisco at 7.45 pm, and after crossing the beautiful harbour by ferry took a train at 10.40 pm from Berkeley for Portland (Oregon) – a lovely run. In doing this run one should always leave San Francisco at night so as to be in daylight for the most beautiful scenery, including Mount Shasta, next morning.
On May 26, we arrived in Portland and called on customers. We left Portland at 11.30 pm for Seattle and arrived at 6.30 next morning.
On May 27, we took the 8.30 am steamer – "Princess Kathleen" – and arrived at Victoria, British Columbia, at 12.55 pm. We stayed in the beautiful Empress Hotel and did some good business there.
On May 28, we arrived in Vancouver at 6 pm.
On May 29, we went with Mr Walker, our agent, up to Daisy Lake travelling by steamer up the Howe Sound to Checkamous, then took the train for 35 miles to Daisy Lake, a lovely run, and arrived 1.30 at Tom Neighs Hotel. Fishing no good.
On May 31, we returned to Vancouver, staying at the Vancouver Hotel for 6 dollars for room. We booked a lot of excellent orders although Mr Walker was ill and unable to go round with us for three days.
On June 5, we left at 8.30 am and did a lovely run to Sicamous, spent the night there and went on through the glorious scenery in the Rockies to Lake Louise. Put up at the Lake Louise Hotel (rate 10 dollars for room). This is a most beautiful hotel, but very expensive.
On June 7, we went over to Banff. Had exciting time with a bear halfway into the heart of the Rockies!
On June 8, we stayed in King Edward Hotel, Banff, (rate 5 dollars).
On June 9, we left Banff at 10.55 and arrived in Calgary at 1.30. Dined in beautiful Palace Hotel and left at 7.50 for Winnipeg, arriving there at the Royal Alexandria Hotel 7.35 pm (rate 6 dollars for room). We did good business in Winnipeg thanks to our agent, W.L. Leighton.
On June 13, we left for Chicago at 4.45 pm, passing through Saint Paul, Minnesota the following morning and arriving in Chicago 9 pm that evening.
We stayed at the Blackstone Hotel (rate 12 dollars for room). Here we were met by James Gilmore, our New York agent, but found business impossible, although on many previous occasions, in earlier days, I had sold up to 25,000 pieces in Chicago.
On June 16, we left Chicago for Toronto, where we put up at the Queens Hotel and did some very good business, having opened up with Tip Top Clothiers.
We spent the weekend at Niagara, where we were met by Mr Gilmore again and went over on Sunday evening to Rochester, where we did good business. From there we went on to Montreal and booked a great many orders.
On June 29, we left Montreal for New York. We stayed at the Pennsylvania Hotel, and after doing the rounds of New York we sailed on the SS "Caledonia" and landed in Moville on July 11.
During this trip of just over six months we spent 92 days at sea and 12 days and 13 nights on the train.
Brian was of the greatest assistance to me. I dreaded tackling the Australian and New Zealand business alone. Owing to my being laid up for a week before sailing, I was unable to get thoroughly posted on the customers - but, I found that, without telling me, Brian had made out his own book and often handled customers all alone when I was otherwise engaged.
During my absence I found three new workers' houses were built by Charters near the Middle House, for which we got a grant of £60 each from the Government, and no rates to pay for five years.