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Alison's Paddock


1500 x 750mm

The Devonport Steam Ferry Company had a regular service from Down Town to the Takapuna wharf for family day trips and picnics. Just up from the wharf was a paddock used for a house cow and to tether race horses that were exercised along the beach.  Increasingly the paddock was being used as a picnic area, and it popularly became known as Alison's Paddock, what today we know as The Takapuna Beach Holiday Park. 
I captured this iconic holiday destination as one would imagine it to have been in it's hay day, in bright pastel hues.  The campsite functioned as a stage upon which cultural fantasies were performed in full view of an audience of fellow campers interested in much the same 'wilderness' experience. Like today, campers encountered a degree of gear envy at the site, on a neighboring camp, of a brand new primus stove, a sliding sun roof or a built-in, fold away ironing board. Persistent bugs or light rain might count as major hardships, providing memories to be recounted in family conversations for years to come.  As leisure time increased, clothing for the weekend golfer, swimmer and boating aficionado, filled men's wardrobes.  Women never left the caravan without full makeup, coiffed hair and an army of undergarments, their dresses tightly clinched at the waist, blossoming into a full swinging skirt - a lot of fabric at a time when rations were a recent memory.  In 1977 Takapuna council bought the land, but recently they've decided not to renew the campgrounds' lease causing outrage among locals and families that have been vacationing here for generations.  Sadly, we'll be loosing one of the few city campgrounds left in the world to be located on a beach.

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