Bryce Gilchrist and Helen Inkster enjoy a sunny day on the Boulder Bank, where Inkster’s family own a bach (small holiday home), one of a number in the area. The Department of Conservation has managed the Boulder Bank since 1992. Since then owners have been issued with five-year renewable licences for their baches. Some of the baches were built in the 1940s and 1950s, while others may have originated as rough shelters constructed by local fishermen in the 1880s and 1890s. Bryce Gilchrist and Helen Inkster contributed this story about the family bach.
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Contributed by Bryce Gilchrist and Helen Inkster
The Inkster bach is a typical Kiwi bach of its time – corrugated iron walls and roof, wooden window frames, originally green, now a vivid blue. The bach is accessed from Port Nelson via boat, taking about 5–10 minutes in a dinghy with an outboard motor. Originally, when rowing over, it took about half an hour or so depending on the weather. It is isolated and yet extremely close to the city. Trips to concerts and movies in the evening have been known to happen.
Four generations of Inksters have loved the bach, enjoying the solitude, bird life and dramatic weather changes. All the children have spent many holidays hunting through flotsam and jetsam for goodies, swimming, building rafts, collecting shellfish, exploring the rock pools and helping out with general maintenance. It is fantastic to go back to the basics, and enjoy a board game, a good book, or general banter in the evenings. Currently the bach is used at least once a month by family members and friends, often spending a week or so at a time. It is used as a retreat from the hectic stress of life on the mainland, for relaxation, creative exploits and time out.
The Inkster family bought the bach in late 1967 from Phil McConchie, who had built it in 1959. Phil was a builder, hence the bach is built professionally, and is square and stable. By the time the Inksters bought it the kitchen was completely finished but the other rooms were unlined and the doors not hung. There were lights, however, linked up to a generator at the neighbour’s bach. Over the years Gilbert Inkster finished the various rooms of the bach – which now has four comfortable bedrooms and two living areas.
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Photograph by Jock Phillips
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