Author(s): Greg Davies
Nearly 90 years after being hidden, a diary and leather-bound photo album have re-emerged. They belonged to a spirited young man named Lance Rosser who died in Christchurch in 1928, aged just 24. In 1923 Lance was working as a grocer in Sockburn. For the sake of his health he left smoggy Christchurch for the cleaner air of Auckland, a trip that was considered almost the equivalent of today's 'Great OE'. The diary chronicles his wide-eyed journey north and what he found when he got to Auckland and began shaping a life. Auckland in the 1920s was going through a period of immense growth, and Lance's impressions of the Queen City during the Jazz Age are fascinating. He visits the newly opened zoo, details the arrival of the HMS Hood, goes to Town Hall performances and takes ferry trips to North Shore beaches (long before the harbour bridge existed). He also gives an interesting account of a trip to Rotorua and tells how a charismatic Scottish evangelist changed his life. Lance's diary and photographs give a clear and unique insight into the brief but full life of a headstrong man with dreams in 1920s New Zealand.
Greg Davies was born in Christchurch and spent his early years there before moving to Auckland as a six-year-old. He is now settled in Wellington. Although Greg was young when he left Christchurch, family ties there, as well as an affinity with the city of his birth, meant frequent return visits. His grandmother is Enid, Lance's sister, who passed the diary and photo album on to to him. Greg works in the communications industry and is interested in social history, family history and all things related to the past, including antiques.