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Famous Times


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About the Author

Angus Gordon was born in Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, on March 16, 1950, and is a fifth-generation farmer on the family farm, Clifton Station, which has been in the Gordon family for 155 years. In 1969, he went to Victoria University in Wellington, where he completed a BA in English, before doing two years a volunteer teacher in Vanuatu. He then travelled and worked in Europe for three years, before returning to Clifton in 1977. He married a Dinah in 1981, and they have two children - Tom, who farms with Angus, and Abby, who is a plot currently residing in Norway. In 1999, Angus and Dinah built a large cafe and function center in Clifton by the beach, which they successfully ran for fourteen years before leasing the business. In 2004, Angus wrote and published a family history called In the Shadow of the Cape. He is currently farming the two thousand acres of Clifton in partnership with son Tom, running fattening lambs and breeding cows and growing organic crops on their flat land. In 2016, a book called Cape Country was written by Angus' sister Jenny Carlyon and Di Morrow, with the help from Angus and published by Random House. It is an in-dept story of Clifton and the neighboring properties with beautiful photographs by Richard Brimmer. In 2016, Angus finished this book called Famous Times: Historic Woolsheds of Hawkes Bay - a photographic journey through the beautiful province of Hawkes Bay, where he lives.


Pacific Book ReviewFor anyone who is considering purchasing this book, do not buy the electronic version; purchase the hardcopy. Angus Gordon's Famous Times: Historic Woolsheds of Hawkes Bay was not meant to be read on an iPhone or tablet. To do so would be, in this reviewer's opinion, a waste of time. This book is a passion project, rich in history and rustic beauty. Reading it is akin to exploring a museum or leafing through a family photo album. Such projects require a presence and investment that electronic mediums do not encourage. While perhaps Famous Times: Historic Woolsheds of Hawkes would be too niche for many, the project's focus and execution create a space for author Angus Gordon to excel, even to shine.Famous Times is a book exclusively about woolsheds built over 100 years ago in the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand (located on the southeast side of the North Island, also known as Te Ika-a-Maui). A woolshed, or shearing shed, are large buildings in Australia and New Zealand where sheep are shorn. The woolsheds serve, among other things, as shearing areas and storage for both the shorn wool and shearing equipment.Gordon details in his introduction the importance of pastoral farming to the history of Hawkes Bay, stating it was, "Once synonymous with wealth." Now, many of the woolsheds in Gordon's book sit unused, several decrepit beyond repair.Yet Gordon's book is not a portrait of a dying industry. It is a monument to a different age and the beauty of the relics it left behind. Sprawling pictures dominate each page, showing exterior photographs of the woolsheds, historical black-and-whites of the workers, and the occasional snapshot of the interior of a building. These photos are charming, showcasing not only the ancient buildings, but the gorgeous landscape around them. Nestled in between the pictures are succinct blurbs about each woolshed, detailing the year it was built and the history of the family who owned it, including the occasional interesting factoid.Famous Times: Woolsheds of Hawkes Bay is an undeniably particular topic. Not everyone is going to be interested in old sheep shearing sheds in New Zealand. But if you have an interest in unusual corners of history or take pleasure in viewing scenes of pastoral tranquility, I think you may find this book well worth your time.

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