Original photo © Russell Museum

Phyllis Boucher congratulates Charlie Baker

Long hot summer days draw locals and visitors to the beach whether Kororareka Bay, Oneroa or Tapeka. Locals too enjoy a swim, particularly our children who learn to swim as naturally as they learn to walk.

This photo shows two locals in 1936. Phyllis Boucher was the first person to swim Russell to Paihia in 1929 aged 18. Here she congratulates Charlie Baker aged 15, the first boy to swim from Russell to Paihia and back.

The Boucher family of six girls  and a boy grew up half way down Matauwhi Bay Road in a house that was later moved to Te Wahapu (the site of today’s Motel Russell).

Charles William Baker sadly was killed aged 21 in an aircraft accident  while on a training  flight out of Ohakea during World War 2. You can see his grave near the olive trees just inside the Christ Church picket fence.