October 28 - 1935 All Blacks rural retreat

Between matches against Cardiff and Newport six of the All Blacks were guest of former Governor General Lord Bledisloe at his Gloucestershire home, and it seems a good time was had by all.

Lord Bledisloe


During these days, six members of the team were the guests of Lord Bledisloe at Lydney Park, Gloucestershire. Hart, Oliver, Manchester, Caughey, Page and Corner were driven to Lydnev Park on the Monday. In the afternoon they visited the model pig farm. Lord Bledisloe had adopted the Danish system of production, and ground his own meal.

The pigs—1,000 white ones—were reared in houses heated to a temperature of 60 degrees. He had also adopted a scheme whereby the pigs got fresh pasture periodically, and he had patented a self-closing swing door. The food was carried into the paddocks on tram-lines.

The same afternoon the visitors went pigeon shooting on the 10,000 acre estate, but without success, although Hart made one hit, but the pigeon fell into a tree and could not be retrieved. After tea all Lord Bledisloe’s magnificent New Zealand gifts presented him during his term of office as Governor—General were inspected The dinner, which lasted from 8 till 10 p.m., included the sampling of the 150 years old Madeira Port. The “Boy’s” went pigeon-shooting again on Tuesday, but without any luck.

Rabbit-shooting in the afternoon was much better, and all got good bags—Lord Bledisloe being particularly successful. Oliver secured the biggest bag of the team members, and very nearly added Manchester to his bag! It was wet on the Wednesday. However, a shooting match, North v. South, was held, South winning by 9 to 4. In the afternoon visits to the cheese dairy and milking shed were made, and at 5.50 p.m. the very fortunate sextette left for Newport to rejoin the team. They all agreed it was a marvelous experience, and could not speak too highly of the generous hospitality extended to them.”

From ”The Tour of the Third All Blacks 1935” by C J Oliver and E W Tindill. Pub. 1936 by Sporting Publications. P.90-91.

Charlie Oliver, best rabbit shooter