On the occasion of his 88th birthday, local historian Maurice Potter is not hugging anyone nor shaking any hands, instead staying home as part of the necessary restrictions imposed on life in April 2020.
Yet at the same time he will be looking back at all his family and friends that have in the past at some time shared the celebrations.
Today he’s taking us on a walk back in time, starting at Goats’ Bluff…
Hidden in the cover of the trees here are the remains of my family’s old home, now becoming part of the bush again. What stories have been created and told there over many, many years!
One that has been well told in past newspapers was about John Potter who had been made a constable for the area. This was apparently due to his rescuing of three people from Alfred & Lizzie that went ashore on Hope Beach and his ability to recover those who had drowned including the body of John Musk who fell into the water while loading their sailing boat with potatoes, a most unfortunate accident.
From here we walk along the Neck and onto the land now occupied by the South Arm RSL & Community Club. At the time I was leaving school this land was owned by the late Alan Calvert and covered in quite large gum trees. He had already pulled the trees over with the help of Mr. Alf Calvert’s steam tractor which was operated by Mr Ron Bezzant. My father William” Bill” Potter had a contract to cut the trees and remove the wood for 12 shillings a ton and then he sold it on to the people throughout South Arm.
As I had left school this was my first job that lasted for several years, in addition to the other every day jobs that had to be done on the farm. This was all happening while soldiers were in training at Fort Direction, getting ready to go to war in 1940.
As we walk on to the home “Coralyte”, then owned by Mr Ardy Griffiths and his son George Daniel Griffiths, we come to that lovely old barn which was built around 1914. This is just one of the old farm buildings to be found throughout South Arm that still remains in its original state. I was told by a family member that the main corner wood poles were salvaged from the load of logs from a shipwreck that happened years ago at the Iron Pot Lighthouse. (This would have been from the wreck of the steam ship “Lintrose” (1932) which was carrying Hydro Poles and happened before the Lighthouse was built)
This shed has stood the years very well and was used by several of the Griffiths families with the home itself used as a boarding house around 1921 to 1940. Today this home is in the hands of Mr Alan Bradshaw.
As we walk further into the township of South Arm, we would have been greeted on both sides of the then gravel road by a display of all kinds of fruit trees. On the right there was the large orchard of Robert & Henry Calvert and on the left the property of George Alomes & Sons. The House of “Rosemount” would have stood out on the rise above surrounded by lovely rose bushes with display of fruit trees of several varieties below the house.
I can remember the Cox’s Orange Pimins, New Yorkers and on the lower area, where the coffee shop and chemist are today, was a great row of very tall cherry trees.
This area alongside the road was known to flood in winter time and it wasn’t surprising to see wild ducks swimming amongst the fruit trees!
Photos: John Potter's house, looking south on South Arm Road, Rosemount and Coralyte