Events · Victorian

From 2017 to Victorian Oamaru Part III


Despite falling into bed so late I still woke up reasonably early which was quite a surprise to me. I had expected to sleep a lot later and Saturday was the only morning where it wouldn’t matter quite how late I did sleep. Even so, after a couple of failed snoozing attempts, I dragged myself out of bed for a long, refreshing shower.

As I would be joining my fellow suffragettes for the parade, and as 1893 was the year we were successful in finally being allowed the vote, I wore my Antique Rose ensemble again, leaving off the Eton Jacket and adding my corselet and tie. I haven’t tied a tie since high school so it took me a couple of goes to get it right and when it was, I certainly looked as if I meant business. Protesting for the right to vote is serious so you may as well dress the part, yes?

I stopped in at Steam Cafe for a coffee on my way down to the precinct and sipped at it as I meandered along. Usually, the Saturday morning during the celebrations has a late start but the morning was so beautiful that lots of people were already out and about. In Harbour Street, I people watched for a bit and spotted a swagger getting the move along from the constable. A few minutes later I saw the boxing ring marked out and knew what was coming so quickly found a good vantage point.

I think knowing what was coming and how the whole skit played out made it even more entertaining. It was also interesting to see how a change in performance venue subtly altered some of the action. As I was watching I found myself standing next to Carol, who runs the Photo Shoppe and who is also a photographer for the Oamaru Mail. I have gone to see her every year that I have come down for a photo (unfortunately this year I ended up breaking my tradition – so sorry Carol!) She asked me about my tintype and I told her very excitedly about it.

More fisticuffs

I was also standing near Marise, and partway through the play fight, she handed me Graeme Simpson’s phone, asking me to return it after they’d finished because she had to start organising the parade. Quite flattered that I was asked to do such a favour, I accepted and promptly returned his phone as soon as the performance was over. I had been a bit worried that he would have disappeared off too quickly, not knowing that I had it but fortunately that didn’t happen.

With the phone returned to its rightful owner, I made my way down to the end of Harbour Street to look for some suffragettes. None had arrived so I wandered about for a bit, waiting to see the telltale placards and familiar faces. Other groups arrived and stood about but there was still no sign of my fellow protesters. But I did spot Maree and Scott arrive with their Maheno School group so went over to say hello and stand with them until I found my ladies.

Maheno School, ready to march in the Grand Parade

After chatting for a while I decided to have another search for my suffragettes and successfully located them. I was soon armed with a placard and was completely ready to march in memory of the women and men who tirelessly fought so that I and all women in New Zealand can vote equally in our elections.

Ready to protest

The canon boom announced the start of the parade, startling several participants. The pipe band struck up and slowly we were on the move. The streets were very well lined with spectators, which is always encouraging and we received plenty of support (and the odd line of opposition, generally the old line ‘go back to the kitchen’ – all in good fun, however).

Some of the spectators were even treated to the Gary Kircher, the mayor, dressed as a ruffian, being chased by the constable, arrested for stealing the mayoral chains and being put in the stocks on the back of a truck. There’s a good video of it here.

Maree so kindly took this photo for me
And this one too, thank you Maree

Once we returned from the parade, I reattached myself to Maree and Scott and we decided to get some lunch before they headed off home for the afternoon. By then the penny farthing and safety cycles races had begun so I watched those for a while with Cheryl, Colleen, and Karen and her husband. I also took the opportunity to duck into Deja Moo for a delicious strawberry shortcake ice cream to enjoy while spectating.


And, speaking of penny farthings, I couldn’t resist climbing up on the stationary one set up in Harbour Street although I soon discovered that sitting astride was impossible in my skirt so had to resort to side saddle…

Generally, I’m okay with heights, but being this far off the ground made me nervous

My only other engagement for the day was the Murder Mystery dinner so I changed back into my Shippensburg dress and headed down to the Brydone Hotel. I’d never attended a murder mystery dinner before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Clearly, I’m better suited to solving murder mysteries on television because I just couldn’t figure it out. Our whole table struggled to solve it, but it didn’t help that we were actually sitting with the murderer and he was continually vague with his answers.

We did suspect him from the first but then thought that that was far too simple and easy and ended up with a much more complicated (and very off the mark) conclusion. The only thing that made us feel better, however, was that none of the tables solved the murder. While parts of the evening were entertaining, and the food was very nice, I don’t think that I’ll be buying a ticket for next year’s Murder Mystery Dinner. I think that I will head along to the Saturday night dance instead – clearly, I keep missing an exciting and entertaining evening.

The only real advantage of the dinner ending when it did meant that I was able to go to bed at a reasonable hour so that I could be somewhat refreshed for the last day.


If you missed it, Part 1 is here

And Part 2 is here



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