The Dunny at Armanasco House
When Stephano built in 1890, no pioneer house was complete without its little outhouse out the back. At that time they would have had a long drop, but later the night cart man called around the Bay in the night hours to empty the can.
Keith has built a kauri board and battern thunderbox/dunny/privy/long drop, call it what you will, complete with the standard interior furnishings of kerosene lamp hanging on a nail, a coat hook, the bottle of Jeyes Fluid and, of course, the Weekly News neatly cut into squares and hanging on the wall. There is a carefully smoothed bench seat with a comfortable hole in the middle, with a wooden lid strategically placed over a can. This outhouse has been placed in the back yard of Armanasco House.
The wood pile is nearby. Its purpose was to save the lady of the house any embarrassment if caught out the back by visitors. She could pick up some wood as she made her way back to the house as though that was what she was there for all along. The dunny door could open inwards or outwards, but if the door opened inwards it was great for fresh air (or to admire the view) and if anyone came along you could quickly push the door shut with your foot and keep it shut.
Please note: A window was not standard in these wee houses. We have installed one so that you can view the interior at your convenience when the door is locked.
Bill Glen: Xmas Eve 1947, 9pm, I set sail in the 18ft Tartar for Cornwallis with Stan and Joe Eades. Unfortunately the wind died so at midnight we had to drop anchor, and as it was a really dark night we were unsure of our position. In the small hours I awoke to the most horrible stench. We had inadvertently anchored over the outlet of the Green Bay sewage holding tank which was always emptied on the outgoing tide. So it was pull up the anchor through the muck and get out of there fast!
Yvonne Dabb: My family lived in Taylor Street and outside our house was a large manhole which must have gone to the main sewer. The night cart man lifted the cover and emptied the contents from his night's collection down it.
George Roger: Built in 1947, our house in Kinross Street (now the doctor's surgery) could not have a septic tank because of the poor draining clay. The options were nightsoil collection, or use the sewage system of the business area up on Blockhouse Bay Road. To connect with this system an elevated toilet was built – up five or six steps outside the back door. Many oldies in the Bay will remember this unique feature.