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Station Amusements in New Zealand   By: (1831-1911)

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Station Amusements in New Zealand, written by Lady (Mary Anne) Barker, offers a captivating and insightful account of life on New Zealand's remote stations during the late 19th century. As a firsthand narrative, it provides a unique window into the challenges, charm, and idiosyncrasies of colonial life in this beautiful and rugged land.

Lady Barker's writing style is engaging and vivid, transporting the reader to a time and place where stations were not just remote farms but also bustling communities. With a keen eye for detail, she paints a vibrant picture of the vast landscapes, the hardships faced, and the resilience of those who called these stations home.

What sets this book apart from others is the author's perspective as a woman in a predominantly male-dominated society. Lady Barker fearlessly immerses herself in various station activities, giving readers an intimate understanding of the daily routines, celebrations, and trials experienced by both men and women. This unique insight adds depth to the narrative, shedding light on the dynamics of gender roles and the strength required to thrive in such an environment.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Station Amusements in New Zealand is the author's ability to capture the spirit of the people she encounters. Lady Barker skillfully weaves anecdotes and character sketches throughout her narrative, showcasing the colorful personalities and genuine camaraderie that characterized life on these stations. Her storytelling is superb, effortlessly drawing readers into the lives of individuals who both entertained and challenged her during her time in New Zealand.

Moreover, Lady Barker's book is not without a sense of humor and lightheartedness. It is sprinkled with amusing and delightful episodes that offer a respite from the often rough and demanding realities of life on the stations. Her ability to find joy and laughter amidst adversity is inspiring and serves as a reminder of the indomitable human spirit.

The only downside to Station Amusements in New Zealand is that Lady Barker's narrative occasionally feels disjointed and lacks a consistent chronological flow. However, this minor flaw does not detract significantly from the overall reading experience, as each chapter functions as a standalone tale of its own.

In conclusion, Station Amusements in New Zealand is a charming and illuminating depiction of colonial life on remote stations. Lady Barker's intimate observations and engaging storytelling make this book an enjoyable read for anyone interested in history, adventures, or the human spirit triumphing against all odds. It provides valuable insights into a fascinating chapter of New Zealand's past and showcases the unyielding determination and resilience of those who carved out a life on these isolated frontiers.

First Page:


By Lady Barker


The interest shown by the public in the simple and true account of every day life in New Zealand, published by the author three years ago, has encouraged her to enlarge upon the theme. This volume is but a continuation of "Station Life," with this difference: that whereas that little book dwelt somewhat upon practical matters, these pages are entirely devoted to reminiscences of the idler hours of a settler's life.

Many readers have friends and relations out in those beautiful distant islands, and though her book should possess no wider interest, the author hopes that these at least will care to know exactly what sort of life their absent dear ones are leading. One thing is certain: that few books can ever have afforded so much pleasure to their authors, or can have appeared more completely to write themselves, than "Station Life," and this, its sequel.

M. A. B.

Chapter I: A Bush picnic.

Since my return to England, two years ago, I have been frequently asked by my friends and acquaintances, "How did you amuse yourself up at the station?" I am generally tempted to reply, "We were all too busy to need amusement;" but when I come to think the matter over calmly and dispassionately, I find that a great many of our occupations may be classed under the head of play rather than work... Continue reading book >>

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