The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 10 Issue 59
A response from Sylvia Thomas to items from the lastissue.
It was sad to see that another icon of old Avondale hadbeen demolished.
One of the most exciting days of my childhood wasbeing allowed to go to the pictures at the Avondale TownHall or the Grosvenor as it was later called, and racing athalf time to get a place in front of the crush at thecounter to buy my ice cream in Whales' Dairy. In thosedays Mrs Whale used to make up a big sectioned tray of small square ice blocks which I think must have beenjust flavoured milk. Like making junket I heard her sayonce. They were then sold in a square cone for about 2d.each. She said she made them as a nourishing treat forthe children who didn't have much to spend. As I grewolder and my allowed spending became more, I chose thenew Choc. Bombs. I think they cost 9d.
Sometimes the Whales' daughter, Margaret, served in theshop and later on the young man she eventually marriedalso helped. He was Eldred Stebbing who working withhis older brother, was then part of Stebbing's SoundSystems. He later formed his own business recordingunder one of the new labels of the day, singers and musi-cians who became well known in NZ. He seems to havestarted recording at his home on the corner of MethuenRoad and Bollard Avenue, My sister Wilma and herhusband Cleave Anderson bought this house fromMargaret and Eldred in the ‘50s or ‘60s, discovering asound proofed bedroom and a quantity of wires andequipment related to the recording business, in theceiling of the garage.
Cleave died in 2003 and Wilma now lives in a rest homeso the house, their family home was sold just a few yearsago. Eldred Stebbing died fairly recently well known inthe music
The Avondale Drapery
I thought I knew the shops to the right of Fearon'sBuilding. From the 1930s the Farmer's TradingCompany was the shop next to Fearons Butchery. ThenMr. Watson's chemist shop and Mr. Findlay the shoe andboot repairer. Later came Battersbys the Funeral Directorafter relocating from small premises opposite and downfrom the railway station, and then Crawford's garage.
In 1968 the Farmers closed, and my husband and I leasedthe premises as Avondale Printers and Stationers Ltd.and Speedy Rubber Stamps Ltd., eventually buying theproperty from Mrs. Fearon. The shop and factory prem-ises were then enlarged, and room for another businessand a car park made. We were there for something like20 years.
The Dove's drapery shop I remember was across the roadin Rosebank Road, up from the barber shop and tobacco-nist, O'Leary's toy and fancy goods shop, and the Self Help grocery store which was on the corner. Mrs Doveand her daughters were very popular. I remember themwell until about the early 1940s. Doves' drapery inRosebank Road was later taken over by Mr. and Mrs.Tomlinson and their son who owned the business formany years.
(Wise’s Directories from the time W J Tait’s Unity Build-ing was opened in 1932, show that next to the Self Helpwas John Tomlinson, draper; Alf Kirby, barber; and E Leary, stationer. The information that Dove’s shop inAvondale was part of the Fearon Buildings complexcame from a study of the directories I made back in2001, while researching
Heart of the Whau
. See alsopage 6 this issue. – Editor)
New Windsor Road
I am a few years older than Robyn Fazakerley whoreplied to my earlier journal contribution so I rememberthe little family who used to visit our neighbours theDonaldsons, Roy, Florrie and our playmate, Maureenwhen we lived in the shop. Mrs Donaldson (nee FlorenceGreep) was a Blockhouse Bay girl, a Sunday Schoolteacher at the Mission Church (now the Baptist Church)and a Girls' Life Brigade officer. Because of her Ideveloped a curiosity about the Bible, and scaryimaginative things like fairies living in flowers, (don'ttread on them) and toys coming to life at night. (Be kindnot rough with them during the day.)
Wilma and I joined in several social activities forchildren at the Mission, on one occasion pushing ourdoll's pram the two miles to enter in the decorated pramscompetition I think Robyn's mother and Florrie weregirlhood friends. Only, Robyn, I will have to disagreewith you on one or two points. You must have visitedseveral times. You think you were only about three, but Iremember you with your thick blonde plaits, a littleDiocesan schoolgirl in your uniform of a blue dress andpanama hat with an elastic band to hold it on. There wasalso a large old style pram with a baby or two, a littlewalking boy and a tired young mother who apparentlypushed the pram a distance to New Windsor Road tovisit her friend.
Being a Blockhouse Bay girl, Florrie knew other youngwomen who still lived in the district, and was sometimesvisited by two other friends. One was the mother of sev-eral small children and the wife of the Avondale taxidriver, Mr. Sunderland. I well remember the child undertwo in his little romper suit. He became a well knownTV personality.