The Random Ramblings of Ron the Rover

Ronald W. Black of the Linwood Rovers

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The family in 1917

The family in 1917

Graduation, 1950

Graduation 1950

Graduation Group, 1950

Graduation 1950. From Left: Birdie Good (Mother-in-law), Ron Sr., Doris, Ron

Holiday, 1960's

Janet, Dad and Me on Holiday, 1960s

Surfers 1986

Mum and Dad, Surfer's Paradise 1986

Biographical Details

Ronald Wallace Black was born in Christchurch on 5th March 1916. His parents were Ronald Anderson Paris Black and Janet Bisset Black(nee Wallace), recently emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland. They established house at 42 Cranley St, Linwood. His sister Noeline was born in 1920 and brother Eric in 1922. The family were staunch Presbyterians and attended St. George's, in Linwood Avenue.

He attended Christchurch Technical College (then a High School) from 1928-1932, showing aptitude with language. He had ambitions as a journalist or writer, but practical family needs during the depression years meant that his abilities with numbers were pressed into immediate service. So, after completing school, he worked for the Christchurch City Council, rising to become Assistant City Treasurer before the war. Although his family had no history of academic interest, he attended Canterbury College (which later became the University of Canterbury) part-time at night. From there he finally obtained first a B. Com. in 1948 and an M. Com. (Hons.) in Economics in 1949.

In November 1940, his name was drawn in the second Territorial Ballot requiring him to be conscripted into the Army. However during the 1930's his understanding of his Christian faith had led him to a complete pacifist position. He regarded even medical service as supporting the war machine. One of the last trips recorded in these journals includes a visit to a centre of the Christian Pacifist Society, Webb St Methodist Church, Wellington. There he listened to the preaching of Ormond Burton and spent hours discussing his position with A.C. Barrington. By October 1941 his appeals on the basis of conscience were turned down and he was convicted as a defaulter and sent to Paparua Prison just outside of Christchurch. In the next few years he saw a string of prisons and detention camps: Paiaka, Whitanui, Strathmore and Hautu. New Zealand was particularly harsh amongst the allies when it came to the handling of it's conscientious objectors. This was perhaps surprising given that the wartime Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, and his cronies had taken a strong the anti-conscription stand during the first world war.
He was released on Parole in October 1945, and required to work in a factory making rubber boots for a time. The last restriction on him, the non-ability to vote, was finally lifted in time for the 1951 election.

The above paragraph is perhaps inaccurate in places as Dad never actually spoke about his wartime experiences. If he felt any betrayal by his country, the Presbyterian Church or the Labour party, he never showed it, though the hurt was clear. He felt his position was one of personal conscience and strongly resisted any desire to influence anyone else to his position.

Things improved however and Dad married Doris Good in 1949. I arrived in the family in 1957, and my sister Janet in 1959.

His city council position no longer available, he registered as an accountant and joined the firm of Wilkinson and Wilkinson, before taking the role of Registrar of the Christchurch Technical College in 1953. This was to remain his job throughout the rest of his life as the institution transformed into the Christchurch Technical Institute, then the Christchurch Polytech (now CPIT).

Dad recommenced attending St George's on his return from the camps. Later, when he and my mother moved into the new house in Shirley, Christchurch, he attended St Columba's then became a foundation member of St Aidan's Presbyterian in Emmett St Shirley. There he served on the session and as session clerk and as Presbytery elder.

Other activities he enjoyed were his long associations with the Shirley Bowling Club, and the Technical Soccer Club.

Ron died 3 September 1987 of a stroke - victim of his pipe.
Sadly missed.