Express photo mystery solved

Last updated 11:30 04/02/2013

From the archives: The Marlborough Expressf published this photograph of Karen, Shirley, Shane, Ewan, and Tracy Stevenson with Brian Schwass, behind, at the opening of the Middlehurst Bridge across the Awatere River in 1970

shane Stevenson
Penny Wardle
Blast from the past: Shane Stevenson and her mother Shirley Stevenson hold a newspaper clipping and visitors’ book recording the 1970 opening of a bridge connecting Middlehurst Station to Awatere Valley Rd.
pinic 1920
Ross Paton Zoom
Do you recognise these people in this photo. It appears to be in the 1920s - perhaps a family picnic in the Marlborough Sounds?

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Blenheim woman Shane Stevenson could not believe her eyes when she logged into the Marlborough Express website on Thursday and found a picture of herself cutting the ribbon at at bridge opening in the Awatere Valley on her 14th birthday.

The photo of the opening of the bridge leading to Middlehurst Station, where her family lived from 1955 to 1988, was published in the Marlborough Express online "What's Going on Here?" series.

A large crowd gathered for the opening of the bridge connecting the station to the Awatere Valley road on January 17, 1970, she said.

The bridge made a huge difference to their lives. A long-wheelbase Land Rover was no longer required to cross the river and the family bought their first car, a Chrysler Valiant stationwagon.

Shane and her mother Shirley Stevenson of Blenheim remember a large crowd gathering to celebrate the bridge opening. Tents were erected on the lawn and their swimming pool was "chock-a-block" on the hot summer day.

Four and a half pages of the family's visitors' book are filled with the names of those who attended.

Shirley Stevenson wonders how the family fed so many people. In those days there was no electricity, so they had no fridges or freezers, she said. The electricity came on in July 1976 which "domestically, was the best thing that ever happened".

Three months was the longest time Shirley Stevenson spent on the station without a trip to town, but a weekly mail service run by transport companies kept them stocked with food. The drivers were happy to collect items such as prescriptions from a chemist.

Shirley Stevenson moved to Middlehurst in 1955 when she married Ewan Stevenson and shifted into their newly built home. Her husband farmed Middlehurst in partnership with neighbouring Upcot Station, run by his brother Jack.

Shane Stevenson said she found the photo when her daughter asked her to check the Marlborough Express website for reports of a bomb threat in Blenheim.

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- The Marlborough Express


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