Three generations of the Carthew's visit Cornwall. On this trip it was also to say a final, sad 'Farewell' to Dee Dee, much loved and dear wife of Grandpa Ron, mum of Rita & Robin and grandma of us & many. Unfortunately dad Robin Stuart Carthew


Carthew village, Corwall, England. (map link here)

Published content contributed to the physical Carthew book is also presented below.

[ Eventually this section by default will be minimized for readers who visit after reading the book, but also with an option to expand the text if visitors arrive here directly and have not read the printed work].

This is a short compilation of key memories of my formative years growing up in the Carthew-Davey family, having been invited by Rob to contribute to the Carthew Book.
The experiences my two brothers and I shared will be recalled differently, as memories at best are malleable, however here’s my best efforts at retelling them. I’ve chosen to present my contribution this way as our memories play a huge part in building who we are as individuals and shaped our immediate family.
Whakatane, 1970.
My earliest and foggiest memory was in 1972 gazing up at a Lego tower that dad made in Whakatane, the town Hayden and I were born in, and this towering ‘spaceship’ seemed endless!
Tawa, 1973-ish.
On to our next town; Tawa, home of Murray Mexted (famous NZ rugby player #8) and the genesis of our family ritual of sitting in a circle on our living room floor wolfing down fish & chips early on Friday evenings while our pet fish in the aquarium looked on in horror, excellent!
The next 11 or so years held many fascinating new experiences, we had the OPEC oil crisis resulting in car-less days and mum & dad bought a ‘flash’ bronze Holden Kingswood to drive us three brats around after retiring the venerable Hillman Avenger. It had sheepskin seat covers and dad also had it converted to CNG (natural gas) for more affordable travel and speaking of gas, we used it to visit New Zealand / Aotearoa’s brand new and first ever McDonald’s in Porirua (there’s now 170 more in the country).
Around this time mum began to encourage my natural artistic abilities, always gently suggesting ideas for enhancing my work, which I have belatedly appreciated much more later on when exposed to the rigors of a ‘formalized, structural’ approach for art instruction during 5th form and my Master of Arts degree. I like to think mum enjoyed art for the solace that it gave her at times along with the pleasure it afforded our friends and family to whom she gave away most of her treasures. Like mum, I freely express art across different mediums of artistic expression and never did pay much attention to institutionalized thought on the subject and this has afforded me to make some unique work.
In parallel, dad spent as much time with us as he could, despite long hours at the ANZ Bank in Wellington. Great times, burning around the neighbourhood and local foothills on his dark cherry-red Suzuki 125cc motorbike, picking wild raspberries on the backroad to Johnsonville, learning about DIY construction as he taught himself from a series of carpentry volumes, hiking to Morrison’s Bush where once we and other hikers got caught in a flash flood and had to hole up in a shelter. Dad would also regale us by writing quirky poetry and jamming on his guitars using experience from his band, the Escorts. And let’s not forget going to the dump! I would salvage interesting mechanical things there for dissection at home to see ‘what made them tick’.
In 1979 when the country was suddenly reeling from Air New Zealand’s Mt Erebus disaster in Antarctica, I vividly recall walking into Tawa Primary School on a November morning and seeing huddles of dazed, crying friends and teachers everywhere. Tragically, Susan Copely, our bubbly exchange teacher from the U.K. who was in NZ for a year was killed along with everyone else onboard. Air New Zealand tech staff had changed the flight plan waypoint coordinates a couple of weeks before the flight and not notified any of the crew.
Next door, the Shepherds and Dingles lived with kids our age and we had loads of fun, of lasting impact was Craig Dingle giving me a boxed display of rocks and minerals, sparking a lifelong interest in geology, and minerals in particular. Rounding out our time in Tawa was our first overseas family holiday to Australia, August 1982 driving up the East Coast to Brisbane, where I became a teenager and I attribute this trip to my enduring wanderlust.
Hawkes Bay, 1983.
Fast forward to 1983 to the semi-urban, bucolic country life of Hawkes Bay with art deco, orchards, vineyards, majestic scenery, our Davey aunties, cousins and Grandpa Davey’s farm!
These were my halcyon teen years and where I developed most of the manual and mental dexterity that I use today in art and where I fully began to appreciate the relationships between nature and science.
Like Colin and Hayden (and most teens I guess), I sometimes had my own flavour of troubles at Havelock North High School, being a bit too sensitive and introverted for the mainstream rough and tumble culture. Three things stand out from there, my schoolyard fights, failing School Certificate art (at 48%! = why?) and my small side gig of forging HNHS lunch passes to get out of the place between 12 and 2pm.
On the positive side, Mr. Parry the Irish metalwork teacher organized special permission for me to work in the metal shop unsupervised during lunch hours, where over the course of a year, I made a fully functioning WWII Sten submachine gun replica that operated like the real thing, except I purposely designed it not to chamber any type of live ammunition.
We lived in an amazing home perched on Busby Hill with a stunning view in Havelock North and we hosted some wonderful Christmas lunches for our family on the sunny deck overlooking the roses edging the lawn.
Long Hawkes Bay summer’s had many “choice” activities, including biking everywhere around Te Mata Peak, and on one bike trip Colin and I left early with supplies to ride to Tangoio Falls via country backroads where possible, a return day trip of about 120 Km, made a bit harder for me returning with about 3 Kg of rocks I collected from the streambed there. Dad’s sister, dear Aunty Rita, came to visit us while in Bickleigh (40 Busby Hill) and that’s the last clear memory I have of her before she died from a brain hemorrhage.
We also visited Aunty Heather and Pammie in Taradale where cousin Carl and I got up to loads of mischief over the years around the ‘hood and on Grandpa’s farm experimenting with homemade explosives using a mix of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil while Heather, Michelle and Suzie probably just shook their collective heads. Luckily we didn’t blow ourselves up.
Napier airport hosted an airshow around this time with NZ Skyhawks and an American F-15 Eagle that flew vertically up to about 10,000 feet, engines on maximum military power. Ha! Hooked me, line and sinker, I began training with the Royal Australian Air Force as a military aviator in 1995, but our slated cadet intake was unlucky- the RAAF lost a lot of Pilot Instructors to general aviation, specifically Qantas and Ansett. They had a shortage of experienced instructor pilots so paid out the ROS (Return Of Service) obligation from training and gave generous sign-on bonuses, so the RAAF chopped not only our intake, but a couple of waves that were slated to train after us. Life changing event for me and our cadre, that’s for sure. Looking back, I think it was actually a good thing not to have a career in the military as I would have found that type of regimented life too constrictive and stressful.
Auckland, Mellons Bay, 1986.
Initially Auckland felt like a big city back then for us resettling from Hawkes Bay, but we quickly adapted to its pace and settled in.
We moved into our new home with a view of the Hauraki Gulf islands and Rangitoto Island (on a geologic scale an extremely new volcanic island having suddenly appeared out of the sea around 600 years ago. It is also home to the world's largest pohutukawa forest).
Hayd and I continued school at Macleans College where I really dove into physics and engineering.
Having a solid foundation of art and science, I did my BSc in Geology at Auckland University and became the president of the Auckland University Geologic Society (basically that was just a gig where I successfully wrote reports for our club funding to finance our field trips with the inclusion of a proportionate amount of booze to dull our minds and sharpen our pencils).
To pay some of my tuition costs back, I took a job at ANZ Bank at Newmarket’s Operation Support Centre. After that I worked at Heritage Mining in Parnell, drawing free-hand geologic survey maps.
Weekends often saw me out at Ardmore Aerodrome, South Auckland, learning to fly on Cessna 152’s, being granted my PPL in 1992 and getting rated for 4 seater Cessna 172’s so I could take mates on joy flights over Auckland city and the CBD for fun and to build up my logged flying hours. A particular flight connected to our family was one Christmas, mum and dad invited me to spend a few days in our Taupo holiday home and I pretended I couldn’t go. As soon as they left I drove out to Ardmore and with quick preflight checks completed, flew directly to Taupo airport and walked a couple of km across open paddocks to our place at 4 Mile Bay. I was relaxing with a nice cold beer on a sun lounger overlooking the sparkling lake when they arrived! Two astonished but happy parents, that was a great trip; flying for about an hour beats the traffic and much better views and doesn’t take 3 hours by car.
Our family home, 106 Mellons Bay road in Howick was a short drive to Rothesay and Browns Bay on Auckland’s North Shore, so we had great opportunities to visit grandpa ‘Ronald George’, Dee Dee ‘Diana’, Aunty Mickey and the cousins. One time a few of us strolled along the shores in Piha, a locally famous and rugged beach and we happened upon the body of an expired albatros with a huge wingspan, I think we have a photo of that. All on the ‘Shore were full of enthusiasm and energy and we had many wonderful times. Grandpa sometimes talked about his WWII experiences on the HMS Rodney and Dee Dee would be endlessly curious to hear about us boys and how school was going and various other things and she used to make the most succulent mandarin-jelly pudding.
Perth, Western Australia ~Mid 1990’s
Arrived fresh off the aircraft into 48 deg celsius and found temporary work 8 weeks later in the ANZ Bank with a great bunch of Perthites, some who became good mates. Then into the Great Australian Outback, where my exploration crew was based in a dusty tumbleweed Western Desert town dubbed Sandstone, WA.
Very hot sometimes at 52 deg Celsius / 110 F slowly cooking my feet during days through my steel capped boots while overseeing the RAB drilling rig. Sandstone was wild and pretty lawless (the nearest police station was 3 hours by road), but I loved the freedom and the sheer openness of the vast desert-like terrain... I stayed working in Western Australia for about 3 years in total, taking the opportunity to travel around a small portion of this immensely vast state. WA is about 10 times larger than the total of the land area of the U.K.

Final thought for this post: Should you ever feel self-important and mentally bask in the luminosity in your own perceived spotlight, then spend some time in this immense desert.

It can kill you many ways, but it also offers a clarity of vision to be humble and a wonderful freedom.

1997 to 2024

Post - Perth,
James (Jimbo), me & Rich K. "Dundee Mansions" South Norwood SE25 a shit hole, but we loved it!

New Zealand
and New York, USA
From a personal space viewpoint, the transition from living in the openness and underpopulated Australian Outback to arriving to live in London in 1997 was a shock and took weeks to adapt.
I ramped up quickly and began a new life starting for a couple of months in Sion Hill, Bath in the West of England before moving into a terraced house in South London (Dundee Mansion!) that we did extensive renovations to knock it into livable shape…
Here ends my printed account of the first half of my life for the Carthew Book. If you've read this far of what I think is boring then I hope that you found it enlightening or at least were entertained by my brief view into a slice of our family life and our journey.

Rich Carthew
(middle initials always suggest a pretentious dickhead)

PLACEHOLDER 2 - Rich's story continues..