Note: Source; Birth reference; 1903/3279. also ref,NZBDM folio No 2270/1903 Ref No 10
Marriage(1) ref. 1926/884. also ref, NZBDM folio No 321/1926
Death reference. NZBMD folio 1969/2 2450
Notes. Richard (Dick) James Cook Just was the eldest child of Frank
Richard Just of Hobart and his wife Ida Florence McAnerin of Wellington.In
his early days the family lived in 3 and later 18 Cruckshank St. Kilbirnie.
Richard attended the (then) new Lyall Bay (Maranui) School in Freyberg St.
Records of his activities as a youngster are not well recorded. However he
appeared to have (from his tales) had a typical childhood of the time and is
alleged to have lit the largest gorse fire of the year on the Melrose Hills.
No timing for this is known. Early school photos exist of him.
His father Frank, was a military man who up to 1910 was involved in the regular
training of physical training instructors and it can be expected that young
Richard grew up in a reasonably disciplined & physical environment.
In his childhood Richard was required to learn to play the piano, he was
considered to be a capable musician. His interest was in the popular music of
the day. Newspaper articles in the 1920's praise his ability on the
piano,particularly at the dances of Takaka. His father Frank died in 1920,
Richard was then 17 years old and was working as a delivery boy for Wardells, A
Wellington Grocer. His employment during the following years were:-
1. 1922-1923 At Lake Colleridge as a rivet heater & lorry driver.
2. 1923-1924 At the Mangahao hydro site as a lorry driver, driving such names
as "Republic,FWD,Guy & AEC" lorries over some very rough and steep roads. 3. 1924-1925 At Takaka as a coach driver.
During his time in Takaka, Richard met Julia Mitchell (Browne) and they were
married in the St Mark's Church. Wellington on 26 February 1926. In this same
year, January 1926 Richard joined the Bell Bus Company as a driver. He had,
very obviously found his vocation in the bus/tourist industry. Always a
cheerful extrovert, he made a good impression on the clients of his Company.
An indication of his dedication to his work was his effort to learn the maori
history relative to Wellington and New Zealand. This required his to undertake
a study of the maori language taught him by a respective maori elder, Mr. Harry
Hongi who became a close friend. Later he developed his own map of Wellington
with the maori place names and their meanings.
He was also interested in photography as was his father, he took many photosaround Wellington many are held today, in the Alexander Turnbull Library.
As indicated above, Richard married Julia Browne in 1926. They lived in a
property at 133 Ghuznee St, then a house at the bottom of Tinakori Rd. In 1930
they had a house built at 7 Khandallah Rd. Ngaio for some 1,700 pounds, the
section cost 100 pounds. Their five children were brought up here.
Richard, at least after his fathers death, was able to indulge in his somewhat
gregarious nature. As a young man his family were liberal in their attitudes
towards alcohol and both the liquid (mainly beer) and the surroundings in which
it is consumed, were to Richards liking. It is clear that in time, he became
an alcoholic although it was not acknowledged at the time.
In 1939 Richard won 400 pounds in the Art Union. This equalled his annual
salary. He purchased paint for the house, lined the lounge with plywood then,
with the help of "friends", blew the rest in his favourite hotel, the Thistle
Inn. The paint was not applied until his boys grew up and painted the house in
1954. By 1953 his health had deteriorated, mainly as a result of his drinking
and indifference to eating regular meals. He spent 8 months in Seddon Ward and
was cured of tuberculosis of one lung. On his release, he again reverted to
regular drinking. This lead his wife to divorce him in 1954 and he left her
with the home at Ngaio with its mortgage.
In 1959 he married again, this time to a Girlie Auld, they remained together
untl his death in 1969. Richard died slowly and painfully of cancer of the jaw
and throat, possibly influenced by a lifelong addiction to cigarettes.
Richard was a generous man, happy and of a carefree disposition. He was well
liked by all,even if he became a little careless in his selection of friends.
It is clear that he did not have the most compatible spouce in Julia. She was
a fighter, who had to overcome many emotional upsets as a child and young
woman. As such she was always pushing to achieve more for herself and for her
children. Richard however, clearly never saw life in this light. Once he had
a roof over his head and a steady job, he considered that life was to be
enjoyed. This basic personality difference can be seen as the root of their
marriage difficulties. The birth of five children in a short period and in
the middle of the depression put great stress on Julia as manager of the house.
Her frugality was countered by Richard's generosity, particularly with drink. If it is accepted that in their fundermental difference was one of attitude to
life, then the later events in their marriage were inevitable. Julia always
tried to keep her emotions hidden and her opinions known. He tended to take
solace in drink and with friends. This compounded the problem for Julia. When
he came home drunk, she berated him with a very sharp tongue, he retaliated by
hitting her, often. This later practice only ceased when the older boys became
strong enough to stand up to him. It gave Julia the chance to quit a
relationship that, at the best of times, required help and understanding that
was not readily available in those times. F.R.Just/1994 with lots of help from T.W.Just and Jack St.Just.
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