The Leask Family.
Many of the bays around Stewart Island carry the names of old Islander families. And one of these is Leask Bay. Named for old Tom Leask, an Orkney Islander who arrived on the Island around 1863.
He was of course long gone when I arrived 107 years later. But I knew his grandson Stanford, and Stanford’s wife Dolly well, and even better their daughter Joan and her husband Eddie.
Eddie & Joan Kirtlan
Joan & Eddie owned the old Lonnekers house and land at Lonnekers Bay, and with their 4 young daughters virtually adopted me when I arrived as a young ranger in 1969. Their assistance and guidance were invaluable, both within the community, and also with their great knowledge of the Island itself. If they couldn’t answer my queries they certainly knew who could.
Dawn, Helen, Ann & Lynne
Their 4 daughters were, from my advanced age of 21, quite little. I suppose Dawn, the oldest would have been around 12 . But little girls or not, they had huge fun making my life a misery, as they now had an “older brother” to torment.
Some years later I took Iris, my mother and some friends on a day trip up to climb Mt Anglem. And Helen volunteered to look after our daughter Anne, who was about 2. And although I guess Joan supervised I suspect we were lucky to get Anne back, as Helen would have happily kept her.
I look back on those days with great fondness
Both Stanford & Dolly and Joan & Eddies have since passed on, and the girls have left the Island as their lives took them elsewhere
But when they asked me if I would help them put up 2 picnic tables in memory of their parents and grandparents I was only too happy, and honoured to do so.
And today I finished them both, apart from some cultivation and re-seeding of grass, which will have to wait until soil temperatures get a little warmer.
So when you visit us at Sails Ashore on Stewart Island you’ll find these two picnic tables waiting.
Sit, and enjoy the bays they overlook, and perhaps think of those old Islanders, and what their life was like.
Something to explore with Iris & Peter perhaps.