Walu Bay in 1937

Letters to the Editor

Fiji youth

Fiji Times Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reading Fiji Youth (FT 7/6) my mind goes back to my youth 1937 and onward at Walu Bay.

Our home was situated behind the Bali Hai and the Phoenix Theatre.

Behind our home was Tom Blakelock.

There used to be a path up to the neighbours at the back.

Opposite our home was Fred Mahabir and family and behind them was Bernard and Olive Wakeham and family.

On the same side just over the hill with steps cutting through soapstone was Martin Wilder and his family and next to their home was Willie Wilder and family they were brothers.

Below the Martin Wilder home was Harry Terry and before him Joe Florian lived in the same house.

By then the bypass road (Edinburgh Drive now) was completed.

A path led up to the Wilder’s house dividing Terry’s home and Red Swan’s family.

Next to them were the Hamiltons and Enshaws and at the end of the lane were Jack Smith and family.

Reading Colin Deoki’s letter brought memories of growing up in a healthy environment.

Yes, we used to flatten out corrugated roofing iron and make tin boats in our front yard.

On Sundays we would paddle across Suva harbour and spend the day on Cave and Mosquito islands and paddle back following the shore with bundles of kake, brim and cod.

Yes, we plugged the holes with coal-tar and cloth and at times the patch would come off and I would be gazing into the clear blue water.

Some Sundays and school holidays we’d be out on the Nasese reef looking for black and yellow shells with Harold, Oliver and Desmond Singh.

Their parents were wonderful and kind people.

The experiences I related were wonderful, as was the playground on Sea Lark hill the old hospital hill.

Charles Whippy’s boat shed was beside the Walu Bay bridge (demolished).

KW March built a copra shed where Edinburgh House is today.

They had a shop in front of the shed and barracks at the back.

Their tenants were the Rounds family, Whippy family and Ah Tack family.

I wish there were more oldies in Suva who could have a reunion and relate the good old healthy days.

On Sundays we would walk up the cascades at Tamavua by the pumping station for a good swim and picnic and used to walk to Lami (which is now Qauia), at times to Suva Point and the list goes on.

And we dived off the Walu Bay bridge into unpolluted water.



About Dulcie Stewart

#TeamFiji based in Brisbane. Artist/blogger/family historian.
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6 Responses to Walu Bay in 1937

  1. Tom Blakelock says:

    Bula, My late Dad Bob Blakelock grew up in Walu Bay around the same time. My Grandad was also Tom Blakelock. Is this the same person you mention above? I would love to talk to you about any stories you may be able to share regading my familyif this is the same people?

    Hear from you soon..


  2. David Douglas says:

    Hello Tom,

    Kia ora just now saw your reply to W Simpson back in 09-08-2010 Fiji Times while doing some family research. I am your Dad’s (Bob) sister’s (Fanny) oldest son David. My mother often talked about the good old days on Kandarvu during the depression when they lived on wild birds, fish and coconuts and sold copra and then at Walu Bay with all the neighbours. Simpsons, and Wilders names I do remember. Tom Blakelock was a boatbuilder apparently and I do recall him and wife Sophia staying with us for a few months in Picton where we grew up. He put together and painted bright red my first bicycle at aged 7 yrs in 1957. He made a beautiful wooden couch that we had to take the window out to fit it in the porch. And they loved to take us fishing. He sadly died at aged 63 yrs after an accident.. I also recall your dad Bob visiting us from Ch ch where he worked as a carpenter and I stayed with your family on occasion there, all before you came along. Interesting family tree, these Blakelocks cheers david douglas

  3. Tom Blakelock says:

    Hi david. Are you gerry’s brother? I caught up with him at russells sons wedding in may. I would love to reconnect with the blakelock families. Thanks for the blog dulcie. David my email is Thomas.blakelock24@gmail.com if you want to chat. Thanks cuz. Vinaka vakalevu dulcie x

  4. Tom Jonas Wilder. says:

    Bula Allan Simpsson, This is Tom Wilder son of Martin Wilder and I remember very well those early days growing up in Walu Bay.Those were the good old days! In 1939 I finished primary school and had to go to work for Berry Engineering at Marks lane.. a year later went to work for the PWD at the Cascade Pumping station at Tamavua. Tom Cavender was foreman of the Project and John Carruthers was chief Engineer at the Station. World war 2 had been declared and we had a to have FDF Military Guards 24/7.
    We returned to Suva in 2012 and Walu Bay has changed a lot.
    Sa moce. Tom Wilder.

  5. James Daggar says:

    A number of Willie Wilder’s descendants are visiting Suva next month, 28 September 2015 to lay headstones at the graves of our Grandmother & Grandfather.
    We are all children, Grandchildren & Great Grand children of Willies daughters, Florrie, Anna & Rosa.
    As Willie was very active in the Sailing & rifle clubs it would be very special if any one who remembers our mothers or any member of the extended Wilder or May families and could contact or join us to share their memories/photos & increase our knowledge of our families life in Suva, it would be greatly appreciated.
    My contact details are – jdaggar@bigpond.net.au.
    Kind Regards James Daggar

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