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Public records do not illuminate the Snellings’ first four years in New Zealand—but some clues have surfaced. According to Albert’s 1962 obituary in Wellington’s morning newspaper, The Dominion, he was first employed by a national chain of footwear stores, R. Hannah & Co, as a salesman in their Cuba Street (central city) shop. Hannah & Co has no records of its history—but other public information suggests that Albert remained with the company for most of his career, as a salesman and later manager of stores in several provincial New Zealand cities. The Snellings next are listed in the 1928 Cleaves Directory for Auckland province—living at 95 Te Aroha Street, Claudelands, Hamilton. This suburb, on the eastern side of the Waikato River which bisects the city, was an early 20th century subdivision of 400 acres of land previously settled by Maori tribes. In the same year, 12–year–old Douglas was enrolled at Hamilton East Primary School on the corner of Grey and Dawson Streets— near the Waikato and only a short walk from the family’s timber house. Archives New Zealand holds Board of Education records of his academic performance for that year, as a pupil of Standard 5A. His best subject was Drawing (22/25), then Arithmetic (82/100), Spelling (21/25) and Writing (20/25). He had lower grades in Reading and Composition (both 70/100) and a near–fail in Grammar (26/50). These results suggest that Douglas was gifted with the classic combination of talents—artistic, mathematic and (to a lesser extent) written—needed for success as an architect. Family photographs show him as a handsome adolescent. His attendance record—402 days—is well above average for his class—suggesting good levels of concentration on study. Although no record has been found of Douglas excelling in sport, he appears fit in his teenage portraits and would have had many opportunities to ride horses, swim, fish for trout, play tennis, sail small boats and paddle canoes. These are common pursuits for children living in New Zealand. From the family’s scrapbook of his activities during the 1930s and early 1940s, he later won several golf club trophies. In 1930, at age 14, Douglas enrolled in Form 3 for the Classical (Languages, Mathematics, Science) course at Hamilton Boys’ High School—also near the family home. At some stage later that year, his father was transferred to manage the Hannah shop in Matamata, about 150 km west—and Douglas was enrolled at Matamata Junior High School. New Zealand records offer conflicting information about the family’s movements during these years. For example, Cleaves Directory noted that Albert was living in Matamata in 1932, but the rival Wises Directory placed the family still at Te Aroha Road, Hamilton, during 1932 and 1933. Both entries were contradicted by school records of Douglas joining the junior course at Wanganui Technical High, also in 1930. Perhaps only a few months after arriving in Matamata, the family transferred to Wanganui, 533 kilometres south of Hamilton on the windy south–west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. For Albert, this move might have represented another Hannah & Co shop transfer—but for Douglas, it marked the transition from his last few years at school to the beginning of his professional career as a designer. The Snellings lived in the centre of Wanganui, on the west side of the river, at 58 Nelson Street, which leads to Cooks Gardens and still includes a tennis and squash club. It is only two streets away from the city’s main intersection of Maria Place and Victoria Avenue, and only a short walk from Douglas’ new school. When Douglas joined Wanganui Technical High, he was placed in Form 3A for the remainder of 1930, then in Form 4A in 1931— learning English, Mathematics, Latin, French, Chemistry and Physics, as well as several hours of Music, History and ‘Drill’. Some insight into Snelling’s school days is given in a 1950 report published in Australia’s People magazine. In the most informative (and colourful) personality profile of his career, here’s how Snelling’s childhood was described: As a youngster, he had little time for small–boy pleasures like playing cricket and ‘cops and robbers’. He spent those precious after–school hours ‘designing’ and building toy houses. As far back as he can remember, he always wanted to be a designer. On 2 February 1932, Douglas (age 16) was given a free position in the senior school. But for the first time, he was placed in a lower class (Form 7C). Was his academic performance now slipping? Did the school’s administrators want to place free students lower in status than fee–paying pupils? Another explanation might be that Douglas was starting to focus his attention more seriously on artistic rather than scholarly pursuits. In the school records for this year, he was listed for only 29 units (hours) of classroom time compared with 54 units for the two previous years in junior school. He dropped Latin, Physics and Music and cut back on English, but retained similar levels of study for Mathematics, DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 14 15 1916–1937 1916–1937