Letter, Joan Turnbull

Turnbull, Joan

Object detail

Brief Description
Letter to Be Our Guest competition written by Joan Turnbull (nee Heath) about her memories of the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

Joan Turnbull was the daughter of Mr Tom Heath. She was six and a half at the time of the 1931 earthquake and attended Napier Central School. Her older brother Ian was also at Napier Central School. Their parents ran the Provincial Hotel, which was where the family lived. Her sister Eunice and the children's nursemaid Eileen McKinley were buried in the collapsed hotel but survived, rescued just before the fire arrived. George Denhard was a barman at the hotel and died in the collapse of the building.

Joan writes that she can more fully appreciate now, the feeling of horror and utter devastation her parents must have felt standing across the road in Memorial Square and watching all their dreams go up in smoke. Joan remembers looking at her sister that night with her hair cut off and iodine on her head wounds. Joan's elder brother Allan drove the two women in the family car to Dannevirke hospital on 4 February. Joan and her brother were sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Ashburton for three months. They were classified as refugees and received help from the Red Cross.
Production technique
Media/Materials description
Handwritten on lined paper in blue and black ink.
In the Be Our Guest Folder No 2.: Height x Width: 327 x 203mm
Subject person
Subject period
Subject date
03 Feb 1931
Credit line
gifted by Joan Turnbull
Other number(s)
m2006/27/141, 36029


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